The Agri-food Chain Roundtable for Plant Protection shared their concerns on the EU's approach to plant protection products at a meeting in the European Parliament hosted by West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre yesterday.
Among the "damaging developments" the Roundtable identified were:
- Lack of available products due to problems with mutual recognition, bringing new products to the market and to regulatory uncertainty;
- Increasingly burdensome and costly rules on approval of substances, a process which now takes four to six years, combined with the ongoing revaluation of existing substances based on new requirements;
- Lack of crop protection products potentially leading to production shortfalls, particularly in fruit and vegetables, which it described as "the cornerstone of a healthy diet".
McIntyre said: "We need the Commission to develop a clear and consistent regulatory environment, giving producers and processors the confidence they need to invest in new and innovative products.
"Farmers and consumers, alike, appreciate the importance of regulatory controls, but these need to be proportionate, properly applied through risk assessment, based on clear guidelines and underpinned by robust scientific evidence. This will ensure a thriving agricultural sector and safe food."
Among the organisations supporting the statement were the European Fresh Produce Association (Freshfel); the European Potato Trade Association (Europatat); agri-cooperative association Copa-Cogeca and the European Crop Protection Association.