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EU urged to avoid crop protection ‘crunch’qrcode

Nov. 30, 2011

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Nov. 30, 2011

As restrictive new EU pesticide approval rules remove more products from the market than can be developed to replace them, Europe’s farmers risk losing vital crop protection tools in the drive to increase production.

That was the warning this week from Crop Protection Association chief executive Dominic Dyer to an influential gathering of policy-makers, scientists and food industry leaders.

Speaking at the Centre of Excellence for UK Farming (CEUKF) conference in Warwickshire, Mr Dyer said a second ’Green Revolution’ was needed to feed a growing world population in the face of climate change and declining natural resources.

With less than half the farmland available to feed each person compared with 60 years ago, this would require an integrated and science-based approach to crop production combining the best of modern chemistry, precision agronomy, and advanced plant breeding, he said.

But as key decisions loomed in Brussels on the definition of hazard-based cut-off criteria in pesticides, he urged EU policy-makers to back a science-based approach or risk damaging food production across Europe. Loss of key triazole fungicides, for example, could hit wheat yields by 15-20%, he warned.

'The costs and bureaucracy involved in bringing a new crop protection product to market in Europe are becoming prohibitive,’ said Mr Dyer. ’Researching, developing and registering each new active ingredient takes at least nine years, involving up to 200 scientific studies into health and environmental impact, and at a cost of some ’300 million.’

'The crop protection sector is rightly proud of the progress it has made to develop safer, more target-specific and environmentally benign products, as well as the industry’s support for responsible stewardship and integrated farming practices which ensure that pesticides can be used safely and effectively.’

'Without modern pesticide products, up to 40% of food crop production would be lost to disease, weeds and insects,’ said Mr Dyer. ’Continued innovation in plant science and crop protection is therefore vital to meet food security imperatives and to provide the raw materials for the UK’s ’86 billion food supply chain.’

'But no research-based sector of industry can operate effectively, or make long-term R&D investment decisions, in the face of spiralling development costs and continuing uncertainty over the EU registration process,’ he warned.

Source: Farming UK


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