UK farmers fight to use farm chemicals

Updated: 15/10/2008

NFU Vice President Paul Temple takes the pesticides fight to Brussels today as senior figures meet to discuss impending EU legislation which could wipe out over 80% of existing pesticides commonly used on British farms.

Mr Temple will warn a conference hosted by the European Voice, a leading Brussels based newspaper, of the potentially disastrous economic impact of the proposed pesticides registration regulation.

Paul TempleHe said: “We need action now to reduce the threat and get the proposals into some kind of acceptable form. If the Parliaments proposals were accepted it would have devastating consequences for the UK agricultural industry.

“Independent assessments have shown crops like sugar beet and numerous horticultural crops could no longer be grown economically. Yields of all crops would decline significantly – at a time of rising world demand.

“Production would be exported out of the European Union, food security would decline and food prices would rise. Pesticides are already heavily regulated and this is a step too far.

Mr Temple will urge MEPs to support the council common position, vote not to make the proposals worse and demand that a full EU wide Impact Assessment is carried out to show the effect of these proposals.

He added: “This is another example where the requirement to have competitive agriculture is in conflict with regulatory force and with no tie in to imports.

EU: Pesticide limits harmonised across Europe

Source: Keith Nuthall – 01 Sep 08

Euro FlagAfter two years of debate, the EU has moved to simplify the regime governing pesticide residues in food, making it easier for manufacturers and retailers to ensure their products meet EU requirements. 

A new regulation has come into force that sets EU-wide “maximum residue levels” for different foodstuffs, replacing the old system where the EU’s 27 member states set national residue limits for their countries.

The new EU regulation mandates limits for 1,100 pesticides and 315 food products.

EU health commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said these limits guaranteed healthy residue levels: “Food produced or imported in one member state must be safe for consumers in all of them.”

‘Little evidence’ 

Source: BBC News – 24 Jun 08

Many Euro MPs have called for even tougher controls on pesticides – and the package may be amended accordingly by the parliament in the autumn.

Wheat HarvestEnvironmental consultancy ADAS says yields of key crops such as potatoes and wheat could fall by 25% under the proposed EU ban.

A British farmer interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme objected to the new pesticide rules.

Kit Papworth, spraying fungicide on wheat in Aylsham, north Norfolk, said that replacing triazole, for example, “would make a significant difference, both in cost and yield terms… at a time when the UN is calling for more food to be produced”.

“The alternatives are not ideal… they will reduce the yield, and reducing supply tends to increase prices… There’s very little evidence to suggest that anything that’s being talked about is actually harmful,” he said.

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