Despite Food Scarcity, EU Sticks to Plan to Halve Pesticides

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The European Union is committed to halving the use of pesticides by 2030. Even now, the pressure on agriculture is increasing due to scarcity as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The European Commission will present plans to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture later on Wednesday.

 

The pesticide use guideline should have been ready by the first quarter of this year, but it was postponed.

Brussels will not ban the use of pesticides. Instead, the focus will be on organic products and other alternatives, EU officials said. The use of pesticides is prohibited in public places and around schools, hospitals and other similar facilities.

“We will replace chemical pesticides with safe alternatives,” said European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. “Farmers will be fully supported with unprecedented EU funding opportunities to cover the costs of the transition.” The scheme must be approved by the European Parliament and the Member States before it enters into force. The guideline may still be amended.

Governments are grappling with soaring food prices as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted trade, sparked hunger and increased the already mounting cost of living. According to agricultural research by the British non-profit organization CABI, pests and diseases can reduce crop yields worldwide by 20 to 40 percent. But as pest insects become more resistant to pesticides, farmers use more chemicals. This raises concerns about the impact on wildlife and human health.

Demands to reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides could reduce the EU’s wheat yield by about 15 percent by 2030, the European trade association for cereals, among others, COCERAL warned earlier. According to EU officials, the plans are ambitious but will be phased in and achievable. In addition, food production will not be endangered, it sounds like.

Furthermore, they note that there is no alternative, as the decline of pollinators such as bees due to pesticides poses a serious threat to the food supply in the longer term.

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