Agricultural pesticides pose a serious threat to pollinator populations, including bees. To save these species, The European Commission is seeking to halve the use of pesticides by 2030.
The potential new rules to decrease pesticides include especially reducing the use of chemical and “high-risk” pesticides. As of now, however, there are no specific details on which ones would fall into these classifications or how enforcement would occur.
The EU commission pioneering the plan will not comment on the potential regulation until its release on May 20, but it is likely to be closely intertwined with the commission’s plan to make agriculture more sustainable, set to be released the same day.
76 percent of food production in Europe relies on pollinators. The decrease in their populations poses a serious threat to the food supply. There is expected to be significant backlash from agricultural producers who fear the ban will drive up production costs and lower yields, but the ban is critical for protecting the long term health of food supply chains.
Geraldine Kutas, director-general of the European Crop Protection Association, says the commission is mindful of how bans will impact farmers. “Targets, however, have to be realistic and science-based,” she said.
Europe is already ahead of many other regions in terms of pesticide regulation. The EU banned the outdoor use of neonicotinoid insecticides in 2018 and organic food and farming organization IFOAM is pushing for even more ambitious targets. They advocate for an 80 percent reduction in synthetic pesticides by 2030 and a total phase-out by 2035.