EU self-sufficiency in balance as EU votes on Endocrine Disruptor criteria

The EU’s ability to be self-sufficient was called in to question today in a new report released by Steward Redqueen, carried out on behalf of ECPA. The report looked at the potential impact that the current Commission proposal, setting out criteria for Endocrine Disrupting properties, could have on the availability of crop protection products. The report highlights the significant reduction in crop yields, crop value, and the EU’s self-sufficiency in certain staple crops, such as wheat.

The report focusses on 16 substances used in crop protection products which could be removed from the market under the current proposal. However, the number we expect to be removed from the market could be far greater, as high as 50 substances, possibly more.

Some of the key findings from the report are as follows:

  • Use of the 16 substances in the cultivation of seven key staple crops in the EU (potatoes, barley, wheat, sugar beet, rapeseed, maize and grapes) contributes to between 34 and 69 million tons or between €4.1 and €8.3bn of crop value;
  • If these substance were no longer available, the EU’s trade balance could be negatively affected: the volumes imported into the EU could quadruple: from currently 7 Mt of maize, OSR and sugar beet to some 28 Mt;
  • The EU would effectively have to move from net exporter to net importer for barley, potatoes and grapes to fulfil the demand.
  • Higher short-term yields for these crops support farmer income of between €4.1 and €8.3bn; in addition 0.8 million jobs in 5 countries are contingent on the crops covered by this study;
  • Without the 16 substances, the exported volume for wheat could halve. 

Speaking on the publication of the report Graeme Taylor, ECPA Director of Public Affairs, said: “This report confirms the Commission’s own conclusion which is that the proposed criteria will have the most significant impact on agricultural productivity, competitiveness and trade. Unfortunately the Commission has ignored these concerns and even acknowledged that the criteria bring no additional benefits in terms of protecting human health and the environment. Farmers and consumers will be the ones to pay the price.”

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