Pesticide claims ‘nonsense’ say the Soil Association
The Soil Association dismissed as nonsense claims made by the pesticide industry that all carrot growing in the UK may cease if the proposed EU legislation on pesticides is approved. Organic farmers prove that you can grow good crops with minimal or no use of pesticides.
Other statements from the pro-pesticides lobby include: wheat yields will drop by 20%-60%; potato yields will be down by 26%-60%; pea and onion yields down by 40%; and sugar beet yields will drop by 50%, or sugar beet growing will stop altogether.
The European Parliament plenary vote will be taking place tomorrow [Tuesday 13 January]. The EU proposals are likely to be agreed substantially unaltered because they are supported by a majority of Member States and by the elected Members of the European Parliament.
The new rules will ban highly toxic chemicals which are genotoxic, carcinogenic or toxic for reproduction, but a clause in the legislation may mean some of these products could continue to be used for up to five years before being phased out.
A recently completed report for the Soil Association from the Centre for Agriculture Strategy at Reading University (research was based on statistics from Defra’s Farm Business Survey)  suggests that more food could be produced under organic production than under the slightly improved pesticide regime about to be agreed by the EU. Pesticide use would also fall by 98%, which is of course far more than any projected fall under the EU proposals.
If we ate a healthier diet as recommended by Government and the World Health Organisation – more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fewer meat products –  then yields will be adequate without the use of pesticides.
The Soil Association has written today to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State, calling on him to drop his opposition to the EU pesticide proposals. 
 Please contact the Soil Association press office for a copy of the report, ‘England and Wales under organic agriculture - how much food could be produced?’.
 Dietary advice from the World Health Organisation:
Dietary advice from the Food Standards Agency:
 Please contact the Soil Association press office for a copy of the letter to Hilary Benn.
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