A new campaign, ‘Healthy Harvest’, has been launched by the NFU at the Cereals Event today (11 June), in response to reductions in the crop protection toolbox available to farmers.
The campaign is in response to concerns that already flat-lining UK crop production will be sent into decline if British farmers continue to lose access to key crop protection materials.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “The UK is fast becoming an over regulated environment for British farmers who are losing their home markets to foreign farmers who have better access to more effective means of crop production.
“At a time when leading scientists are warning that within a generation the world could be facing a ‘perfect storm’ of food shortages, this is not time to be taking away the tools our farmers need to produce disease free, high yielding crops.”
Since 2001 half of these materials have been lost and over the lifetime of the newly elected EU Parliament another half could be banned. Insufficient evidence has been used to enforce bans of certain crop protection ingredients within Europe and as such the regulation has been seen as overzealous.
“British farmers need to be able to use the same, safe technology as their competitors if we are to have a productive agriculture producing healthy harvests,” said Guy.
And there is concern over the lack of new products to the market. Very few new crop protection products are in the pipeline and spend in research and development in this sector has depleted.
The NFU will be working with the Crop Protection Association (CPA), the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) along with levy and research bodies and the food chain in the UK and across Europe. Collectively evidence will be compiled that demonstrates the impact depleting crop protection products have on UK food production.