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EU Delays Plan To Reduce Pesticide Use Amid Concerns Over Grain Yields

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Recently, the European Union decided to postpone the implementation of a plan to halve pesticide applications due to concerns that it could reduce grain yields and raise the cost of basic commodities within the EU.


The European Commission, an EU government agency, proposed the Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides in June of this year, which plans to reduce the use of the compound by 50 percent by 2030. However, an impact assessment noted that the implementation of the regulation appears to reduce production. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has raised energy prices for food producers and lowered the price of grains and other commodities imported from those countries.




In addition, the regulation prohibits the use of all chemical pesticides in areas such as parks or gardens, as well as in different urban areas.




This regulation has been challenged by many parties since its release. In countries such as Spain, a 50% cut in pesticide use would result in a significant drop in production. Even within the European Commission, there are some signs of doubt. The regulation is particularly unpopular in Europe, where the doses of pesticides typically used in European countries have been reduced, and it would be unfair to have every country reduce similar doses. They argue that it may only be the more developed EU countries that can afford less hazardous chemicals. Currently, 10 states in Poland have requested exemptions from the legislation. The Czech Republic, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said it would not be able to find a compromise on the directive before the end of the year.




An EU diplomat said it would be irresponsible to shift to cutting utilization rates when companies have to develop additional sustainable alternatives. There is a need to ensure that alternatives are available, but not overnight, that production cuts are unacceptable and that the timing and modalities of implementation must be discussed.




EU farmers' group Copa-Cogeca is pushing to postpone or abandon some unrealistic initiatives. copa-Cogeca co-president Christiane Lambert said Monday that pesticide price cuts ″are not realistic″. Farmers are already reducing the amount of crops they plant due to higher prices, largely attributed to energy costs and drought conditions in many parts of Europe. The organization estimates that this year's EU cereal harvest is expected to be 269 million tons, down 7 percent compared to 2021. Imports from Ukraine and Russia have also declined due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

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