Farmers’ opinions must be part of the equation as the European Union considers how rules on pesticides are applied, MEPs have been warned.
“We, as members of the Agriculture Committee, must stand up for our farmers and growers and give voice to their concerns,” said Anthea McIntyre MEP.
She issued the caution as the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee published its contribution to a review of the implentation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EU/1107/2009).
The regulation sets down rules on which pesticides can be used and how. Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, will help negotiate the final report on implementation as shadow rapporteur for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the parliament.
As Conservative employment spokesman and a member of the parliament’s Agriculture Committee, she is concerned that science must be allowed to guide decisions on the safe application of pesticides, rather than speculation or scaremongering.
She would also like more done to help small and specialist growers get over the administrative and financial hurdles that stop them seeking authorisation to use plant protection products (PPPs).
In a speech to the Agriculture Committee she spoke of the need to “give a voice to the needs of the farmers”.
She continued: “I find it concerning that since the adoption of 1107 we’ve only managed to authorise five new active substances.
“This shrinking of the farmers’ toolbox is denying them effective and low-risk products that has led to a dependency on just a handful of Plant Protection Products (PPPs), Glyphosate being the prime example of that.
“I have a particular plea for minor uses and speciality crops. In my region, fruit and vegetables are extremely important and they are on the whole speciality crops.
“We really have not done enough to incentivise the industry to push for authorisation of PPPs in this area. I do not think that the minor uses fund has achieved anything like we had hoped it might.
“We also need to understand what the future of agri technology is going to bring. We need to have PPPs authorised in a way that matches the way they are used on farms.
“We now have the possibility of using drones and robotic tools that can highly target PPPs, so there really is scope for matching the way they are applied to the quantities and to the process for authorising them.”