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Majority supports pesticide legislation; Industry looks forward to more science and less fiction during implementation

Date

15 Jan 2009

Sections

Health & Consumers
Agriculture & Food
Climate & Environment

Brussels --- The Plant Protection Industry looks forward to more and better science in the wake of the European Parliament’s majority support for its pesticide regulatory package.  Parliament voted in favour of the trialogue agreement on the regulation governing authorisation of plant protection products and in favour of the trialogue agreement on the framework directive ensuring the sustainable use of pesticides. The package must now be officially adopted by the Council before being published in the Official Journal of the EU. The definitive implementation of the legislation is expected for the second half of 2010.

 “Once we enter the implementation phase of the process, we intend to help make sure that the path that is followed is based on fact, not fear,” said Friedhelm Schmider, Director General of the European Crop Protection Association.  “We hope that we are now leaving behind a period of sensational claims and that the approach to the application of this legislation will be one of great care and due diligence.”

 The vote on the legislation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market:

Pest management products are used to fight insects, fungus, disease and weeds in all forms of agriculture including organic.  They are essential to producing and preserving the food supply.  The banning criteria (cut-offs) are of major concern to industry and the whole European food chain. European farmers have already lost 60% of the substances previously available in 1991.

 “Now the question arises of what further losses are in store for both the farmer’s pest fighting portfolio and  European food production as a result of the legislation,” added Schmider.  “To some extent the loss of more useful substances without a scientific rationale could be avoided during 2nd reading. We will work with European policy makers and our partners in the food chain to support a sensible implementation of the remaining provisions of concern. The decision-making so far has been done in the absence of a comprehensive impact assessment, which would certainly be very helpful in ensuring that the next steps are the right ones to safely secure Europe’s food supply.”

 While the adoption of cut-off criteria remains of great concern to industry, other areas of the new legislation, such as the new rules on parallel trade and national provisional authorisations, are hailed by ECPA.

 The vote on the Framework Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides:

“This legislation is largely welcomed by industry because it formalizes with our long standing commitment to the safe, environmentally sound use of our products,” said Schmider.  “We can see very clearly that the key to the continued sustainable use of plant protection products lies in further risk reduction.”

 Industry recognizes that all actions directed to this aim should be both ecologically and economically viable, rendering agriculture sustainable and food production secure in Europe.  ECPA applauds the focus on elements that contribute to these goals, such as the regular inspection of equipment, education and training of users, and integrated pest management.  “We also appreciate that the measures can be adapted to meet different national needs.”

 However, Schmider indicated that it is industry’s firm position that arbitrary use reduction is neither an appropriate means of risk reduction nor a promoter of sustainable practices. “Indeed, there is no direct systematic link between the amount of product used (whether measured in total quantity or number of treatments) and the risk involved. It is crucial that this perspective be considered when establishing national action plans on the sustainable use of plant protection products.”

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 The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) represents the crop protection industry interests at European level. Its members include all major companies and national associations across Europe. For more information: www.ecpa.eu.

 For more information:

Phil Newton

Senior Manager of Communications

European Crop Protection Association, aisbl

Tel: +32 2 663 1552

Switchboard : +32 (0)2 663 1550

phil.newton@ecpa.eu
   

 

 For more general info: www.pesticideinformation.eu

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