German crop chem group blasts EU pesticide move

05 November 2008 18:35  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--A vote in the European Union's Parliament to restrict the use of many important pesticides within five years will undermine the competitiveness of European farmers, lead to job losses, increase the dependence on imported food and increase food safety risks, German crop chemicals trade group IVA said on Wednesday.


Importantly, the move threatened to reduce food production at a time of increasing needs and global hunger, said Volker Koch-Achelpohler, general manager of Frankfurt-based Industrieverband Agrar


He echoed similar criticism by the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) in response to the vote by the Parliament’s environment committee.


“This vote creates only losers,” said Koch-Achelpohler.


Farmers needed all currently permitted pesticides which could be applied without harming people or the environment, he said.


The number of available pesticides had already been sharply reduced after a European regulation in 1991 and if cut further farmers would not have the means to fight plant diseases, weeds and insects, he said.


Also, the proposed cutbacks would result in reduced food production, a questionable outcome in light of rising populations worldwide and 900m people that go hungry every day, Koch-Achelpohler said.


He also pointed to the example of Denmark, where measures since 1987 to sharply reduce pesticides had essentially failed while Danish farmers today produced 20% less grain on a comparable basis than their counterparts in the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.


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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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