Neonicotinoid insecticides worth £630million to UK crop farmers
NewsTuesday 15 January 2013
Yesterday the NFU released a report that stated that neonicotinoid insecticides are worth around £630m to UK crops.
The news that these neonicotinoids are able to make a significant contribution to crop production in the UK will be welcomed by farmers as another piece of the debate on bee and pollinator health.
The report, called the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture report, stated that if UK farmers no longer had access to neonicotinoid seed treatment technology then it would result in a loss of around £630million to the economy every year.
It was also shown, by the report, that in unfavourable years, such as 2012, the loss of neonicotinoids could result in vast declines in winter wheat yield of up to 20%. A loss of this kind would make this crop uneconomic for UK farmers to grow.
NFU lead on bee health Dr Chris Hartfield said: “The results of this work are important, particularly in light of work being done currently by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewing neonicotinoid seed treatments.
“While EFSA’s work has identified gaps in the current regulatory process assessing how pesticides affect bees, we still do not know how relevant these gaps are and whether plugging them would actually improve the health of bees or other pollinators.
“Any decision to change the way pesticides are used to control crop pests will have an impact on both the protection of insect pollinators and the protection of crops.
“It is essential that we fully understand all these impacts before taking any action.
“Otherwise there is a significant risk we could make changes that do nothing to improve bee health, or even worsen the bee health situation, while also compromising the effectiveness of what this socio-economic report clearly shows is very important way of protecting our crops from pests.”
Picture: Living OS