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NFU alert over EU regulations
THE NFU has warned that tightening EU regulations on crop protection, plant breeding and genetic technology is threatening European crop yields and quality.
Mike Hambly, NFU crops board vice-chairman, told European Commission officials that regulations would also lead to increased reliance on imports from countries where production standards could not be guaranteed.
He said: “Where technology is denied to European farmers, waste will increase because we cannot protect our crops, yields will fall and we won’t be able to compete with imports.
“The impact will be that Europe will have less influence on how its food is produced and the EU’s already substantial net imports will grow.
“A recent German study estimated that the EU net imports of food would take an area the size of the entire territory of Germany to produce.
“Further to that, more land will be needed as European yields decrease and crop losses pre- and post-harvest increase.”
Mr Hambly said the EU’s recent decision to restrict the use of certain neonicotinoid seed treatments and the decision of Monsanto to stop developing biotechnology in crops for Europe were two examples of where European institutions were failing agriculture.
The NFU is also concerned about the management of mycotoxins – without crop protection products that help limit the formation of disease, yields are going to fall while mycotoxin levels could rise.
Mr Hambly said: “Farmers have an excellent record of managing the risk of crop contaminants and keeping them out of the supply chain but the Commission is not making our lives any easier when tools in use elsewhere are denied to us here.”
He welcomed the Commission developing new regulation on mycotoxins, particularly the presence of T-2 and HT-2 mycotoxins in food and feed.
“Investments in understanding and controlling mycotoxins are being made through improved understanding of fusarium and other plant diseases, but not as fast as crop protection products are being removed by regulators,” he said.
“We remain concerned that with restricted plant genetics and the loss of active ingredients against disease, control of mycotoxins will be compromised and then the threat of regulation could return.”
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