16 January 2001
NFU in fight for niche pesticides

By FWi staff

THE National Farmers Union has joined Continental groups to try to ensure producers have access to niche-market pesticides.

With the Committee of Agricultural Organisations in the EU, it will work to define the criteria by which threatened pesticides are deemed “essential” for production.

This is in response to a European Commission review to standardise pesticide availability, possibly reducing active ingredients from 850 in 1991 to 300.

But the EC has agreed a stay of execution for pesticides “essential” to the production of specific fresh produce until a suitable replacement is identified.

Older generic niche products are most likely to be dropped by manufacturers, as future returns do not justify the cost of preparing required information.

NFU vice president Michael Paske said: “Without an adequate choice of pesticides it will be difficult to achieve the quality of fresh produce that the market demands.”

Pesticides in the review programme not supported by manufacturers or not deemed “essential” could be withdrawn by July 2003.

Growers of specialist crops such as watercress and coriander look set to be hardest hit by the review.