In the Guardian on the 17th July Caroline Lucas accused agrochemical companies of “seeking to undermine the transition to environmentally friendly farming.” This statement could not be further from the truth. We are on the brink of the next agricultural revolution; advances in science and agricultural technology are helping to ensure a supply of plentiful and affordable food whilst reducing the impact on the environment. Our member companies play a critical role in supporting farmers on this journey by providing biological, seed-breeding, data, robotics and pest management solutions that go beyond chemicals.
To help fight climate change, we aim to be as productive as possible on the land we have. By using crop protection products, farmers are able to maximise the productivity of existing farmland resulting in more land for nature. An organic and low yield farming system would require more land to be brought into production for yield levels to be maintained, having significant impacts on nature. Indeed, researchers from Cambridge University recently found that high-yielding farming delivered better outcomes for biodiversity, compared to low yielding systems.
The RSA report warns that climate change will continue to cause diet related ill-health, yet scaremongering about pesticides is only likely to exacerbate the problem, discouraging consumers from making healthy choices by making them fearful of conventionally produced fresh fruit and vegetables without reason.
A recent report by independent economist Séan Rickard found that average UK family shopping bill would soar by £786 per year if pesticides were no longer available. In a country where 8 million people are in food poverty and 4 million are regularly using foodbanks that is not a viable option.
Divisive, tribal politics are one of many challenges to society and to move forward we need collaboration, science and evidence. These are the tools our industry will continue to use to provide farmers the means they need to produce high quality, safe and affordable food, whilst minimising the impact on the environment.
CEO, Crop Protection Association.