The long term implications of EU fungicides s

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News article

Considering the long term implications of EU fungicides scrutiny

May 2013

rural consultancy news

European scrutiny of fungicides and pesticides could change the British farming landscape according to a team of rural planning specialists.

The farms team have warned that increased scrutiny from the European Union around the use of triazoles – the fungicides which form the backbone of wheat and oilseed rape production in the UK - could have dramatic implications for farming in this country.
 
The warning comes amid fears the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will move to ban the use of triazoles and following a report into the potential implications of such a move by the Italian research institute Nomisma.
 
According to the report, growers could see a 23% decrease in gross harvest margins immediately following any ban on triazoles. The drop in harvests could be as high as 38% by 2020 due to the increased disease resistance.
 
Jonathan Colman of the farms team said farmers should be aware that they may need to diversify and move away from traditional wheat and oilseed rape production if the EFSA follows its expected course.
 
“Europe places much more scrutiny on the use of fungicides, pesticides and genetically modified crops than other big producers of wheat such as Australia and Russia,” he said.
 
“By restricting the use of these growth aids we could be in a situation where it is simply not worth the time, effort and expense for domestic farmers to produce these crops.We could also realistically find ourselves in a situation where it is actually cheaper for manufacturers to import wheat than to use home-grown produce.
 
Currently the EU is 109 per cent self-sufficient for wheat, but banning triazoles would lead to a situation where the EU would become a net importer of wheat.
 
The farming landscape is changing and we feel farmers need to be aware that the need to dramatically diversify could be closer than many think.
 
A similar report produced by Agricultural and environmental consultancy - ADAS highlighted the necessity of triazoles in production oilseed rape. The report stated the UK could expect a yield cut of 9.8% – a reduction which would cost the UK economy an estimated £75 million.
 
Jonathan said: “With development costs of almost £100 million, and a lead time of 10 years, replacements for triazoles are a distant possibility. UK farmers should act as soon as possible to investigate viable alternatives to wheat and oilseed rape production.
 
By preparing for potential changes to the farming landscape, UK growers can ensure their businesses remain secure and the British farming remains an important and prominent feature of the UK economy.”


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