Increasing pesticide and herbicide regulations would damage the UK’s pea industry and lead to more imports, according to leading pea growers.
Speaking at the Vegetable Agronomists Association (VAA) conference in Peterborough, chief executive of the British Growers Association, Jack Ward, warned that the increasing "burden" of regulation could have serious implications for pea growers and the green pea industry in the UK.
“The recently published Anderson Report highlights the impact which increased regulation could have on UK pea production.
“Three important plant protection products are on the threatened list and without these, disease control in the crop would become an even bigger issue,” said Ward.
Richard Fitzpatrick, MD of pea producer Holbeach Marsh Co-operative, and incoming chairman of the VAA, said: “Growers work very hard to deliver the quality of peas that consumers expect and the ability to control diseases which can affect the appearance and yield of peas is a key part of the growing process.
“As growers we have to compete on a global scale and to do this we need to be as efficient as we can and this means having access to the best available technology. The increasing level of regulation will limit our use of this technology.”
Roger Vickers, chief executive of the Pea Growers Research Organisation said products available to pea and bean growers are already at a critically low level. “Their loss is potentially devastating to the ability of growers to produce the quality of product the consumer needs and expects,” he said.