Farming without neonicotinoids Report on the conference “Pollinator friendly farming is possible”
Does agriculture need neonicotinoids?
Neonicotinoid use is unjustified.
Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used as a so-called “preventive” treatment, i.e. as a prophylactic, with the aim to control insects that are not actually present in the field at the time of application. Moreover, when pests are actually present, the chemicals often have a rather limited impact on crop (e.g. maize) production and on economic output for farmers (Furlan et al, 2007; Stokstad 2013).
Neonicotinoids are unsafe.
In a re-evaluation of the insecticide active ingredients imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, three of the five neonicotinoid insecticides authorised in Europe, they have been found to pose a high risk to bees and the environment. This risk has been identified by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), based on robust and independent published scientific studies. This means that these products do not comply with the EU legislation on pesticides (Regulation 1107/2009). The European Commission has enacted a partial ban of these three active compounds for a two-year period starting on 1st December 2013. During this period, pesticide producers will need to provide further information on their risk assessments. At the end of this period, the Commission will review their conditions of approval and decide whether to prolong the suspension or lift it. In the meanwhile, certain uses and application methods of these three substances, as well as those of the other two neonicotinoids thiacloprid and acetamiprid, remain authorised on the EU market.
Industry’s estimates of economic losses resulting from a ban are unrealistic scare tactics.
The pesticide industry has projected losses of up to € 17 billion in five years and 50,000 of jobs if neonicotinoids were withdrawn from the market. These data, however, have not been scientifically or economically validated, while the industry fails to mention that in Europe the economic value of pollinators pollinating food crops is estimated to be 27 billion Euros each year (Lautenbach et al. 2012, Gallai et al., 2009). Therefore the industry’s projections of the economic impact of based on a presumption of reduced crop yields and jobs losses are not based on reality and are aimed at misleading the public and inducing fear among decision-makers...
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