The delays in the reauthorisation of the widely used herbicide glyphosate have set a dangerous precedent for the 41 other active ingredients up for renewal over the next year, it was claimed yesterday.
With a last-ditch attempt to get agreement in Brussels due to take place next Thursday, farming organisations at this week’s Cereals event in Cambridgeshire were hammering out new thinking on how the industry lobbied on plant protection products.
And, while the science-based argument would still be crucial, growers were yesterday urged to tell their own stories as to why crop protection products were so important to them, after English NFU figures revealed that almost a quarter of the crop sprays commonly used could be under threat over the next couple of years.
Vice-president Guy Smith said that the toolbox used by farmers to control weeds and crop diseases could be drastically depleted if reauthorisation of other products met with the same “politically motivated” complications that affected glyphosate.
He said: “The NFU’s traditional lobbying on the major issue of science-based regulation around access to plant protection products remains essential. But glyphosate is a case in point of how pressure from campaigners can warp the regulatory processes.”
He added that with trust in farmers riding high, they should be more vocal: “We need to talk openly about why we need plant protection products to enable us to be viable farming businesses.”