ICSA Tillage chair Gavin Carberry has said he is alarmed at a report issued in Brussels by the ENVI Committee on the Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (SUR). “This report by rapporteur Sarah Wiener MEP indicates that the European Parliament is prepared to go even further than the European Commission proposals by favouring an 80% reduction in pesticide use - instead of the 50% reduction proposed by the Commission. This is a completely over the top move particularly in advance of viable plant protection alternatives becoming available; it must be resisted at every level,” he said.

Mr Carberry said he is calling for an urgent assessment of the impact that furthering these proposals will have on crop yields and food security. “It is a certainty that there will be serious implications for the availability of food and feed. Productivity will be massively hit with a 50% reduction and the situation would be even more dire with an 80% reduction. It is reckless in the extreme to bring in measures that will decimate production right across the EU and that will deny its citizens of vital commodities without first ensuring the availability of alternative products that work and can be purchased at a reasonable cost.”

“I have personally experienced a 25% drop in yield of a sugar beet crop due to the recent non-availability of the plant protection product Rogor, an insecticide. This left the crop susceptible to disease, which then occurred, and which then resulted in my having to spray the crop twice with a fungicide. This shows the lack of joined up thinking when the result is using twice as much of one product when another, more appropriate product, was taken off the market – plus my yield was 25% down.”

“If my own experience is anything to go by the EU could be setting us up for a massive food security crisis. It is time for our Government to do more than simply allow the transposition of very flawed and dangerous EU regulations become the norm. We need to be able to protect our crops.”

A public consultation on the EU Commissions Proposal for a Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation is currently underway. Submissions can be made to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine until 24 February 2023.