After the EU voted today to extend restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids, NFU Sugar and British Sugar have provided reaction from the British sugar industry:
NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: ““NFU Sugar is extremely disappointed by the decision to extend the ban on the use of neonicotinoids to sugar beet. We believe it is a regrettable decision that is not justified by the evidence available. The ban will have far-reaching impacts on beet growers as there are currently no sustainable alternatives to neonicotinoids. As a result, it is likely there will be significant impacts on sugar beet yields in the UK, exacerbated by our maritime climate that enables significant pest and disease pressure.
“Farmers are acutely aware of the crucial role bees play in food production and take extensive measures to provide habitats for wildlife on their farms. However, there is a real risk that these restrictions will do nothing measurable to improve bee health while compromising the effectiveness of crop protection. As a matter of urgency, the home-grown sugar industry will now be working with the government to try and secure solutions for beet growers ahead of the 2019 crop.”
Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar commented: “This is an extremely disappointing decision reached by the European Commission that will impact the UK beet sugar industry disproportionately. We are working with the British Government as a matter of urgency to try and secure solutions for beet growers ahead of the 2019 crop so that our farmers can maintain sustainable and productive harvests”.
“We are acutely aware that bees play a crucial role in food production in UK, however as sugar beet is a non-beet attractive crop this decision would negatively impact farm biodiversity and we lose decades of advances in sustainability and yield improvement. We believe the ban will disproportionately impact beet growers as there are currently no alternatives for farmers to use and will do nothing to improve bee health whilst compromising the effectiveness of crop protection. As a result, it is likely there will be significant impacts on sugar beet yields in the UK exacerbated by our maritime climate that enables significant pest pressure in the fields and have long-term unforeseen consequences for the beet sugar industry”.