The study, carried out by the consultancy Steward Redqueen and based on information provided by Copa & Cogeca member organisations, looked at the cumulative impact in the EU of having a hazard based legislative approach for assessing crop protection products, instead of a risk based one.
Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: "Many crop protection products are being steadily phased out, which is pressurizing not only European farmers livelihoods but also the environment, employment and the economy. Moreover, many of the substances identified in the report are still being used in non-EU countries, putting us at a complete competitive disadvantage, with no advantage to the European consumer."
Chairman of Copa & Cogeca Phytosanitary Questions Working Party Luc Peeters said: "The study identifies 75 substances that risk being withdrawn from the market. And it shows that it will impact on the whole EU arable crops sector with yield losses of up to 40% estimated for some commodities.
"This will erode farmers margins and cut farm profitability by as much as 40% resulting in total losses of 17 billion euros in terms of overall farm profitability, the study shows. The seven staple crops identified in the report - barley, wheat, rapeseed, maize, potatoes, sugar beet, grapes - correspond to 1.2 million jobs and 30 per cen of these are identified to be at medium to high risk of being lost. 24 speciality crops are also included in the report which relates to 300, 000 jobs."
Chairman of Copa & Cogeca Cereals Working Party Max Schulman said: "We are already seeing the impact of the neonicotinoid seed treatment ban on EU rapeseed, corn and sunflower production. Yields are down and the area sown is falling as some farmers are switching to other crops because they do not want to take the risk. This means rapeseed is being dropped from crop rotations which has a negative environmental impact. Resistance also builds up if there is no rotation in active substances.
"The problem is no alternative tools for crop protection exist and crops are being dessimated by flea beetle attacks. Looking ahead, withdrawn substances are also unlikely to be easily replaced. Action is vital."