Agricultural organisations in Valencia are warning that the region’s citrus producers could lose up to €700m as a result of EU phytosanitary restrictions.
AVA-ASAJA and the Association of Plant Protection Companies (AEPLA) have published a report on the impact of a proposed ban by the European Commission of 75 active substances commonly used in pesticides.
According to the report, the ban would lead to a 36 per cent fall in yield in the community, (€1.5bn for the whole of Spain), as well as the loss of 15,000 jobs and 30,000ha of production being abandoned.
Rice and wine production would also be severely affected, the study claims.
The report is based on a European Commission list of 75 active substances that are due to be phased out and looks at how this would affect seven basic crops and 24 specialised crops.
A five-year average of productivity and costs from 2009 to 2013 was used as the basis of the analysis to calculate the average annual changes in nine EU member states.
Citrus was found to be the crop on which the ban would have the biggest impact, with production costs increasing by 50 per cent. Olive and greenhouse tomato yields would fall by 35-45 per cent, the study calculated, while in the rest of the crops analysed the fall would be between 1 and 30 per cent.
Critics have long argued that the EU system regulating pesticide use is flawed and leaves farmers without access to the tools they need to remain competitive and help feed a growing global population.
“The process of regulation has been politicised, it is increasingly dismissive of science and innovation, and it overlooks the merits of risk-management, and the fact that farmers need access to the right tools to put a safe and secure supply of food on our tables,” said the European Crop Protection Association.