Carrot growers say government delays on granting emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatment could be “disastrous”.
Neonicotinoids have been restricted in the EU since 2013 with a ban on the three main types coming into effect in December 2018. The UK government said it would allow for emergency authorisations of the insecticide in exceptional circumstances.
In October it rejected emergency use applications from the sugar beet industry for use on seed in 2019.
Ian Holmes, R&D chairman of the British Carrot Growers Association said: “There is real concern in the industry because this seed treatment is the most effective way we have to control early aphid-transmitted viruses and foliar applied products do not provide the same activity.
“We have had an Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) within the UK for several seasons and this has helped keep a lid on virus infection in crops. If we don’t get approval soon it could be disastrous.
“Coming on the back of one of the most difficult growing seasons in living memory, this would be a real blow to British carrot growers at a time when we need all the UK-grown fresh produce we can get. Furthermore, news that growers in Belgium have recently received emergency authorisation for the same product means that the UK carrot growing industry will be at a significant competitive disadvantage to our European counterparts.
“We are not asking for an indefinite approval, but need the next couple of years to find new solutions to this problem. However, without neonicotinoid seed treatment in the short term, the industry could face real issues with crop quality and yield.”