Farm businesses in danger if risk-based approach isn’t taken, says NFU

The NFU says that failure to ensure a risk-based approach on endocrine disruptors will result in significant financial impact for their members and will jeopardise farm businesses as part of their European Commission response submitted during the recently closed consultation period.

NFU vice president Guy Smith said: “The fact that the European Commission had a consultation as part of the ED review was a win for the NFU, complemented by the number of growers we rallied together to respond to it.

“We supported members and the wider farming community in their individual consultation responses as part of a different approach to our lobbying – as the Green lobby assembles their troops through social media, our tactics must evolve and stay competitive to ensure we have impact with policy-makers.”

The NFU’s response to the ED consultation included these five main arguments:
> Plant Protection Product (PPP) regulation should be based on sound evidence and an active should only be identified as an ED following a full assessment of the risk it presents.

> Current regulation of ED’s is already too focused on hazard as demonstrated by the finding of the Andersons report which demonstrates the scenario of product loss without any further restriction.

> The work of AHDB demonstrates that a precautionary approach to Endocrine Disruption will be extremely damaging for UK farmers’ and growers’ productivity, and therefore by extension European Farming, the worst case scenario in the AHDB report of £3billion per annum wiped off farm-gate profitability.

> PPPs should be aligned with Biocides regulation ensuring a proper consideration of socio-economic impacts of losing important PPP, and that opportunities for using risk mitigation measures should be considered before removing a product.

> Failure to ensure a proportionate risk based approach on ED will result in significant financial impact for members and will jeopardise farm businesses, undermine resistance management and result in increased requirements for imported food.

Mr Smith continued: “The NFU is keeping a close eye on the development of the ED definitions review – if a more precautionary approach is taken we could lose up to a quarter of our active ingredients used in UK PPPs1, which would significantly limit the ability of UK farmers to grow affordable wholesome food. Such regulation plays straight into the hands of our competitors abroad who would take advantage from working in a more farmer-friendly regulatory regime.”

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