Soil Association comment: The Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture report

15 January 2013

A new report released today (15 January 2013) claims neonicotinoid insecticides make a significant contribution to crop production in the UK and if UK farmers no longer had access to neonicotinoid pesticides, it would result in a loss of approximately £630million to the economy each year.

Speaking about the report, Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director said; “We welcome the report from the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture because at the very least it clarifies the choices we need to make over the use of neonicotinoids in the UK.

On the one hand, the chemical companies say we risk the additional costs to farmers amounting to £630 million. On the other, the possible cost of losing pollinating insects is thought to be worth three times as much (£1.8 billion*) to UK farmers.

As this report was funded by Bayer Crop Sciences and Syngenta, it was probably unlikely to conclude that neonicotinoids should be banned. The Soil Association’s Keep Britain Buzzing campaign is calling for neonicotinoids to be banned in the UK and has been campaigning along with other NGOs to highlight this issue.”

Notes to editors:

• *1.8 bn is the estimated cost of replacing natural pollination of UK crops with hand pollination

• The value of Neonicotinoid seed treatment in the European Union: A socio-economic, technological and environmental review’ report was conducted by Steffen Noleppa (agripol) and Thomas Hahn et al. (a-connect). Based on an analysis of 10 EU countries (Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, France, the UK and the Netherlands) and six focus crops (corn, sugar beet, oilseed rape, wheat, barley and sunflower), the project team assessed the potential value of neonicotinoid seed treatment to EU societies, economies and selected stakeholders. The report was commissioned by Bayer Crop Sciences and Syngenta and supported by Copa-Cogeca, ESA and ECPA, with the endorsement of the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture (HFFA). Further information can be found at 

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