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Pesticide ban means basic food prices will rocketqrcode

Oct. 15, 2008

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Oct. 15, 2008
Consumers could be facing drastic price increases in a range of basic foodstuffs such as vegetables and potatoes if MEPs press ahead with controversial plans to severely restrict the amount of agrochemicals that can be used in Europe.

The warning from the European Centre for Agricultural, Regional and Environmental Policy in Bonn, Germany, comes as the European Parliament’s agriculture committee prepares to debate again plans that could, in a worst-case scenario, outlaw between 80-85% of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.

Crop yield losses from such a move would, according to the centre, force up prices for cereal crops by 74%, vegetables by at least 104%, wheat by 69% and potatoes by 55%.
The stark warning comes as the European Commission official for the legislation claims that farmers have nothing to fear from its original plans. She does, however, concede that the moves in the parliament – where farming groups allege the issue has been hijacked by ultra green politicians – would have a more serious impact.

Researchers at the European centre believe the proposals would export EU agricultural production overseas.Leading UK-based agricultural economist Sean Rickard also believes this will be the case. He too backs the suggestions that consumers could be facing massive increases in food prices.

Centre spokesman Marcel Adenaeuer said: “The price increases forecast in the study are not surprising, given the current pressures on food prices and the importance of the EU to international markets.

“The price increases forecast in the study are also in line with recent experience. In 2007, world wheat supply was about 20million tonnes lower than in 2005 and prices went up by more than 100%.”

European Crop Protection Association director-general Friedhelm Schmider said if the tools farmers used to protect crops were removed and yields go down it was inevitable the food prices would go up. “This research proves that banning pest management options will, in the end, hit consumers.”

The environment committee is likely to discuss the report at its meeting on November 5. The entire parliament is due to vote on the plan in January. An eventual decision has, however, to be taken in conjunction with European farm ministers.

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