Growers called on to help change views

NFU horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield urged growers at the Fruit Focus show to help change government perceptions of pesticide use and its effect on pollinators.

NFU horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield - image: HW
NFU horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield - image: HW

"Please all complete the integrated pesticide management plan on the NFU website," he said. "It's better than waiting for a regulatory requirement and we can then use this to promote what we as an industry are doing. These challenges are not going away."

Former Defra minister Owen Paterson received 87,000 emails from the public on pollinators and pesticides, he said, while a recent positive report on pollinator populations "was little reported because it didn't fit the doom-and-gloom narrative".

Hartfield explained: "The main decline was between the 1950s and the 1980s, and UK biodiversity will bear the marks of that for a long time. But it has slowed since then, with some uplift in the biodiversity of solitary bees, thanks to farmers' conservation measures."


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