Spray ban threat to food security

A European pesticides ban will severely reduce Britain’s ability to produce food, DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn has warned.

The ban posed a “serious problem” for British growers, Mr Benn told an influential House of Commons committee on Thursday (7 May).

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee is investigating the food security challenges facing the UK up to 2050.

Government scientists have estimated that yields could plummet by as much as 30% as a result of the ban.

“These regulations could hit agricultural production in the UK for no recognisable benefit to human health,” said Mr Benn.

DEFRA chief scientist Robert Watson described the limits on certain chemicals as worrying and wrongheaded.

The committee of MPs is scrutinising threats to food security as the UK tries to respond to rising demand for food.

Its inquiry was launched last year in the wake of forecasts that global food production must double by 2050 in response to a rapidly rising world population.

Brussels wants to ban a range of chemicals it says are dangerous to human health.

But farm leaders have warned that the ban will make it difficult to crop certain crops and could lead to food prices doubling.