European farming unions have voiced concern at potential ‘mission-creep’ that could see the EU cutting the use of crop protection products by even more than its current 50% target.
Copa-Cogeca, the body representing Europe’s farming unions and grower co-ops, says a proposal put before the European Parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee in February on the EU’s sustainable use of pesticides regulations includes an aim of reducing use of ‘the more hazardous plant protection products’ by more than 80%.
“A risk assessment of active substances should be science based and transparent, including for more hazardous ones,” said Copa-Cogeca senior policy adviser Paula De Vera. “From the evidence available, this [new] proposed target is not based on any impact assessment, nor does it provide any agronomic details on its approach.
“As the 50% reduction target was already not solidly backed by scientific or technical evidence, we find it even more difficult to see how an 80% target could be justified, let alone imagine its impact.”
Ms De Vera said the proposal was ‘completely disconnected’ from the realities of farming and growing, ignored the need to investigate alternatives and disregarded what had already been achieved in implementation of IPM.
“Studies on the 50% target already point to a significant reduction in production and additional costs,” she said.