Louvain la Neuve, 14th June 2017.
Today the European Parliament did not block the proposal of the European Commission to stop the use of pesticides in Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs). No more pesticides in EFAs, only biodiversity!
This is a coherent step towards a more sustainable farming system in which ecosystem services provided by biodiversity, like nutrient recycling or pollination, can bit by bit regain space in agricultural areas. Studies done worldwide showed a potential increase in yields of pollination-dependent crops of 25% on average, with yields increase of, for example, +12% for wheat, +26% for peas, +32% for carrots! This means that just by managing our landscape in a more “bee-friendly” way, yields may be increased without any further investment in any other input.
The Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament promoted the use of pesticides on EFAs arguing that these areas are needed to grow leguminous plants to make Europe independent from GM soya. According to Commission figures, out of the 45 million tonnes of crude protein needed annually for feed, merely 1% appear to come from EU soybean and EU pulses production possibly covered by EFAs.
Francesco Panella, president of Bee Life, said: “The vote was close today, but finally the common sense prevailed. The European Parliament did not accept the lies of its Agricultural Commission and understood that at least in EFAs we need to put an end to ecocide. Now is the moment to define our future. The following step in order to stay coherent is for the European Parliament not to support the continued use of neonicotinoids and for member states to support the Commission proposal to avoid the widespread use of some of the most dangerous insecticides ever created.”
Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination
Tel: +32 10 47 16 34
Place Croix du Sud, 4 bte L7.07.09
Yields of carrots by +32%, peas by +26%, wheat by +12%, as shown by Campbell, Biesmeijer Varma & Wäckers, 2012, Wäckers et al https://fnt.hogent.be/fntsite/assets/File/Felix%20Wackers.pdf also https://ec.europa.eu/eip/agriculture/sites/agri-eip/files/eip-agri_fg_ecological-focus-areas_final-report_en.pdf ; Garibaldi LA, Carvalheiro LG, Leonhardt SD, Aizen MA, Blaauw BR, Isaacs R, et al. From research to action: enhancing crop yield through wild pollinators. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2014;12: 439–447. Available: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/130330; Garibaldi LA, Carvalheiro LG, Vaissière BE, Gemmill-Herren B, Hipólito J, Freitas BM, et al. Mutually beneficial pollinator diversity and crop yield outcomes in small and large farms. Science. 2016;351: 388–391. doi:10.1126/science.aac7287