EU bans outdoor neonics, farmers opposed
The European Union on Friday announced a ban on the outdoor use of neonicotinoid insecticides (also called neonics for short) but European farm groups said it is broader than necessary.
Neonics have been implicated in declines in the populations of bees, insect-eating birds and bats.
The European Union Safety Agency in February confirmed that neonics are “a risk.”
Copa and Cogeca, the European groups that represent EU farmers and co-ops, expressed disappointment.
“We attach great importance to honeybees and other pollinators at Copa and Cogeca, as they are very important for crop production and to ensure biodiversity in the EU,” Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said in a news release.
“Furthermore, as expressed in EFSA’s risk assessment, we understand that these substances may pose a risk for bees. But we are convinced that with the appropriate mitigation measures, these substances could have been re-authorized.
“We are very disappointed about the EU move to impose a total ban on all non-flowering crops, including pelleted beet seed. All farmers rely on Plant Protection Products (PPPs) to fight pests and diseases, irrespective of the sector or production method. This ban will decrease farmers’ toolbox in an area where there are almost no alternatives. It will also jeopardise the livelihoods of many farmers and put our food supplies at risk.”
Major cereal producers including France, Germany and the UK backed the ban, while Romania and Hungary voted against it and Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania abstained, AgriCensus Daily Report, a London-based publication, said.
The ban will likely be felt by cereal farmers, although it is expected to hit sugar beet and vegetable growers the hardest, according to AgriCensus.