The NFU will head the fight to end “severe” seed shortages in Europe after Andrew Watts was elected as chairman of an influential committee in Brussels.
Mr Watts, NFU combinable crops board chairman, was elected Chair of the Seeds Advisory Committee to DGAgri and will be in post for the first review of all European seed legislation in 40 years.
He said: “I am delighted to be elected chairman of the committee. My task now is to make sure that the voice of the farmer is heard during European Commission meetings on a range of issues.
“This is a crucial time for arable farmers. The last ten months of poor weather have been well documented and the impact on the 2012 harvest in England and Wales has been evident to all. Across Europe farmers are facing severe spring seed shortages. It is clear that we need a more flexible European legislative framework to account for modern farming practice, especially contract farming, and I look forward to working with the Commission to present our case.”
Apart from seed availability he said he would also use the high-level role to convince EU policy makers to improve existing seed regulations and ensure that high profile topics such as a potential ban on neonicotinoids were not subject to precautionary legislative decisions and instead continued to be based on science.