EU plans continue to pose threat to sector

As HW went to press, the industry was waiting anxiously for the publication of the Pesticides Safety Directorate's (PSD's) full report into the impact on key horticultural crops of the latest amendments to the EU's proposals for toughened restrictions on pesticides. The report is due out today.

Trade associations, meanwhile, continue to lobby for a full European impact assessment to be included in the proposals, which are now the subject of "trialogue" discussions between representatives of the European Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament in an attempt to find compromises in several important areas of disagreement.

But what is clear from HW's discussions with technical and scientific advisers this week is that while the number of chemicals likely to be lost under the latest proposals is reduced, the threat to many areas of horticulture is far from over.

Take pulses, for instance. Following the publication last week of the PSD's interim assessment of the impact on chemicals of the latest amendments to the EU proposals, the Processors & Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) has revised its own assessment of the potential impact on pea and bean production in the UK.

In a document prepared by PGRO technical director Dr Anthony Biddle, the organisation makes it clear that the proposed changes pose a "serious risk" to the pea and bean industry. Biddle says: "Even following the revisions to the original proposals, there are so few approved pesticides available for peas and beans, the losses are still very significant. In fact, there are now additional pesticides at risk." In particular, the loss of most of the effective insecticides would seriously affect crop quality. The report concludes: "As most of the crop is grown for premium high-quality markets, the presence of damage or blemish would significantly reduce the viability of the UK pea and bean crop."

HW will publish more details of the PGRO's latest assessment next week, alongside assessments by specialists in other crop sectors. Meanwhile, tell us how the latest amendents to the EU proposals will affect your crops. You can find the latest PSD report via the Pest & Diseases News section of www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk.


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