In a document published May 20, the European Commission proposed cutting in half the use of chemicals and “high-risk” pesticides by 2030.
The proposal seeks to protect pollinators—bee colonies have undergone extreme losses in the past 15 years, threatening 76% of food production in Europe, officials claim. Outdoor use of neonicotinoids was banned in 2018.
Some farmers worry that a pesticide ban would damage yields.
“We acknowledge calls for pesticide reductions and let’s be clear—we are open to discuss targets,” Geraldine Kutas, director general of the European Crop Protection Association, said. “Targets however have to be realistic and science-based.”
The Netherlands’ sugar profits were down $2.48 million in 2019, related to unavailability of neonicotinoids, according to the International Confederation of European Beet Growers.
Chemical giant Bayer says it plans to cut environmental impact of crop protection (its chemical products) by 30% by 2030. Organic food and farming organization IFOAM is calling for harsher restrictions—an 80% reduction in synthetic pesticides by 2030 and a total phase-out by 2035.
The EU draft adds the goal of planting 3 billion trees by 2030, to aid carbon dioxide absorption in the atmosphere.
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