EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘G8 pledges sustainability in food security drive‘:

Your article highlights the urgent need to raise agricultural productivity. The G8’s forecast corroborates the trend experts have anticipated for some time: global demand is exceeding growth in global supply. Moreover, we have limited time in which to double the fruit, vegetables and grains that we are producing if we want to prevent a global food crisis. Our industry is very conscious of this challenge.

Maintaining reliable production is no easy task. Now, imagine doubling it in a world where the climate will become more extreme and unpredictable, and you see the size of the challenge.

Europe urgently needs to acknowledge this and take responsibility, as the actions politicians take today will influence our ability to feed the world tomorrow. As the tipping point rapidly approaches, who will agricultural producers turn to?

G8 ministers called for an increase in public and private investment in sustainable farming. The crop protection industry has been at the forefront of this investment, delivering innovative products to fight pests and disease which are safe and environmentally sound.

It takes ten years to develop a new substance and an investment of several hundred million euros. We support and, in fact, are essential to Integrated Pest Management programmes. We devote resources to farmer training and education to ensure the sustainable use of pesticides. We are definitely part of the solution to helping farmers reach their production potential.

However, there is still a general lack of understanding among policymakers about the mechanics and the pressures of modern farming. This is clearly demonstrated by recent EU legislation that bans pesticides -which are critical for maintaining production – even though they have been proven safe for use.

We need legislation that helps farmers to meet increased demand, not additional barriers without scientific foundation.

Policymakers need to wake up and make decisions that are connected to the crude, inescapable reality of agriculture, which is about primal competition with pests and disease for our food supply. This will allow us to stand up to this challenge and succeed. We are ready to make our contribution.

Phil Newton

Senior Manager, Communications

European Crop Protection Association

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