“Recently the debate has focused on individual plant protection products – such as Glyphosate." - McGuinness
EU pesticide policy is in danger of being over politicised as “growing populist” calls seeks to ban or phase out all agrochemicals.
Mairead McGuinness MEP said scientific rigour must be to the fore rather than taking place to opinion.
Her comments come ahead of a vote on Wednesday 16 January in Strasbourg on a report which outlines the position of the European Parliament on pesticide policy.
The report covers a number of areas, including increased transparency in the approval system for agrochemicals and calling for a clamp down on fake and illegal pesticides entering the EU.
McGuinness said, despite the significant scientific knowledge in Ireland and the wider EU on plant protection products, there were calls for their ban without thinking possible consequences.
She said: “Recently, the debate has focused on individual plant protection products, such as glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up, a commonly used weed killer.
“We need to give consideration to the future of food production and how plant protection products fit into a sustainable, environmentally friendly system, rather than starting from the position that the use of PPPs carry huge risks and that they can be done without.”
One area up for discussion is the banning of products for desiccation. Such a proposal would have major consequences for the Irish tillage industry if adopted.
"Desiccation of crops is sometimes necessary in Ireland. This report fails to take into account our temperate climate and wet summers, which require the use of plant protection products as a desiccant,” McGuinness said.
She highlighted that the EU countries were continuing to tighten rules on pesticide use in line with recommendations and research from EU bodies.
“Last year, the EU banned the outdoor use of certain insecticides – neonicotinoids – as a result of a study from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) showing that these agrochemicals represent a risk to wild pollinators and honey bees.
"The EU's authorisation procedure for plant protection products is one of the most stringent in the world," McGuinness concluded.
This week, Agri Aware launched its new 'Many Hats, One CAP' TV and cinema advert.
Produced by Traction Marketing, the advert is part of a wider campaign which aims to promote and showcase how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) affects everyday life in Ireland, whether that is subsidies paid to a farmer directly or the countless indirect knock-ons that keep rural Ireland alive.
The launch took place at Movies Dundrum, Dublin, on Thursday evening, where both the full and short versions of the advert where premiered for the first time on screen.
The ad itself follows a day in the life of a number of characters who make up the rural landscape in Ireland.
From clips of rural entrepreneur and chef Edward Hayden cooking up a storm in his Graiguenamanagh cookery school, to farmer Kevin Moran up before dawn in Galway to milk his dairy herd, it gives viewers a glimpse into the role the agri-food industry plays.
Agriculture is a huge economic multiplier, which keeps rural Ireland alive
At the premiere, there was a panel of guest speakers which included Agri Aware chair Alan Jagoe and three of the stars in the ad; Hayden, Moran and Teagasc researcher Dr Dayle Johnston.
Hosted by Marty Morrissey, the panel reiterated the point that agriculture is a huge economic multiplier, which keeps rural Ireland alive, and the CAP is central to that.
Alan Jagoe spoke of the huge work, time and spend going behind the campaign.
“It costs money to put it out there, but consumers and society need to know where their money is going and who they are supporting.
"There needs to be an understanding and respect for the production costs and efforts that go into food production,” he stressed.
2016 FBD young farmer of the year Kevin Moran made the point that CAP itself “is not just one thing – a subsidy for a farmer - it is much more than that; it’s an investment in food security, an investment in rural economies and this investment is invaluable to rural Ireland”.
'Many Hats, One CAP' is a 12-month public information campaign that will go live across TV, radio, cinema, social media and print over the coming weeks.
Castleblayney Livestock Mart, Co Monaghan. \ Thomas Hubert
Farmers left unpaid by the liquidation of EP Nugent Ltd, the company operating Castleblayney Mart, have decided to launch legal action against the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA).
At a meeting on Thursday, attendees heard that one case against the PSRA failed, but won when it went to appeal.
Solicitor Paul McCormack told the Irish Farmers Journal that they have agreed to put “in a claim under the property services regulation Act 2011".
"Section 78 part three allows us to bring a claim. One case went forward to the Property Services Regulation Authority and was refused but went through to the property services appeal board and won.”
He says that the basis for the claim is that EP Nugent Ltd was trading “dishonestly” by not having a license.
“There’s 40 individual cases,” McCormack said, adding that the average claim is approximately €1,000.
“Nugent would like to see the farmers paid. There’s no guarantee it will happen. Claims had to be lodged within 12 months of the people finding out there was a problem. The liquidation was 9 April 2018 so we are up tight against the wire.”
McCormack advised that anyone who wants to make a claim should get in touch with his office at Thomas Street, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, or the IFA.
The discontinuation of chlorothalonil is a hammer blow to Irish tillage farmers, Irish Grain Growers Group chair Bobby Miller has said.
On Friday, the European Commission voted to ban chlorothalonil, a key ingredient in Bravo, which is used by tillage farmers to fight septoria and ramularia.
“The one good thing about Bravo is that it is a cost-efficient product. There will be alternatives available in the future, but will be they be as cost-effective for the farmer and will they be as effective as Bravo,” Miller told the Irish Farmers Journal.
We have to stand back and allow imports of grains from all over the world
He also said that any alternative products will have to be tested in the Irish climate as well.
Miller also hit out at the importation of grain from around the world into Ireland.
“Yet we have to stand back and allow imports of grains from all over the world, with different standards applied, arrive into the country to be fed to livestock.
“We, as tillage farmers, are being made fools of by the EU talking out of both sides of their mouth.
"The Irish grain quality assurance system is a joke when our Irish grain can be mixed with any sort of grain and waste in merchants' and millers' processing plants,” he said.