Farmers attack EU’s anti-pesticide legislation

Over 500 farmers, agronomists and other stakeholders have now signed Farmers Weekly’s Save Our Sprays campaign petition, adding weight to our claim that the EU’s planned clampdown on pesticides is flawed.

“The level of support so far has surpassed our expectations, not just because of the volume of signatures we have been getting, but because most people are taking the time to add their own comments,” said FW Europe editor Philip Clarke.

But there is still a long way to go, and farmers are being urged to get in touch with their MEPs constituency offices to set up face-to-face meetings in September and October to discuss this important issue.

The SOS Campaign is Farmers Weekly’s response to impending EU legislation that threatens to wipe out the majority of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used on British farms.

At a time of global food insecurity, we believe the impact would be devastating, leading to lower food production and higher prices.

We have two particular demands:

  • There must be a full EU-wide impact assessment before any further decisions are taken in Brussels
  • The hazard criteria, used to determine whether a pesticide can be used or not, must be better defined, and the number of criteria must not be increased

The following is a selection of comments sent in by signatories to the Save Our Sprays petition so far:

“How can EU leaders consider these proposals without a full risk assessment? The PSD and ADAS reviews indicate that output would drop by some 50%, pushing our industry into the dark ages, just when we need to address increasing demand.” Andrew Cotton, crop consultant

“If the ban comes into force it will push up the price of livestock feed, which might make livestock farming unprofitable, especially in the uplands of Wales and Scotland.” John Williams, farmer

“Yield of potatoes would be reduced by 30% to 60%, and there do not appear to be any new herbicides coming onto the market until 2010 at the earliest.” Anthony Jacobsen, farmer

“At a time when pressure is on in terms of resistance management, as well as on driving sustainable food production, this proposed legislation defies logic and common sense.” Ian Holmes, Syngenta Crop Protection

“This is no time for anti-technology prejudice to threaten the food security of hundreds of millions of European citizens.” Jim Dimmock, senior agronomist, The Eden Project

“Most things contain hazards. Take scientific advice, not media scaremongering.” Ian Harland, farmer

“We need a wide range of fungicides in particular, to keep crops clean and to compete with continental imports.” Murray Maclean, grower.