Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

Environment

EU to slash pesticide use and increase organic farming

It also plans to plant at least another 3 billion trees

Frans Timmermans said the Covid-19 crisis showed there needed to be a chance in the relationship with nature. EPA
Frans Timmermans said the Covid-19 crisis showed there needed to be a chance in the relationship with nature. EPA

The European Union plans to half its use of pesticides by 2030 and promote organic farming as part of designs to protect the environment in the 27-nation bloc.

As part of its ambition to cut greenhouse gases to zero by the middle of the century and build a more sustainable food system, the EU also intends to plant at least an extra 3 billon trees over the next decade.

The use of anti-microbials, which include antibiotics, should also be reduced by 50 per cent for fish and animal farming.

At least 25 per cent of agricultural land will be reserved for organic farming compared to eight per cent currently.

“Nature is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing, it filters our air and water, it regulates the climate and it pollinates our crops,” Stella Kyriakides, the EU commissioner for health and food safety, said.

“But we are acting as if it didn’t matter, and losing it at an unprecedented rate," she added.

EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said: “If the corona-crisis has taught us anything, it is that we have to recalibrate our relationship with the natural environment, we have to become more resilient.”

The executive arm of the bloc, the European Commission, estimates that investing in organic farming will help create 10-20 per cent more jobs per hectare than traditional farming.

“The economic and social costs of inaction on environmental and climate issues would be huge, leading to frequent severe weather events and natural disasters,” it said.

Agriculture produces around ten per cent of EU greenhouse gas emissions.

Updated: May 20, 2020 08:02 PM

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