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Green Deal, with Bio at risk 30% of agricultural production

The survey by the University of Wageningen outlines the possible scenarios caused by cutting pesticides

To combat climate change and the loss of biodiversity, the policies of the European Green Deal aim at a reduction in the use of pesticides and nutrients for plants and an increase in organic production. A scenario that would however have not insignificant consequences for farms, for which a future characterized by drops in production, reduction in crop yields, possible increase in prices, increase in imports of agricultural products from non-European countries is expected. A group of Dutch researchers who signed a study carried out by Wageningen University & Research and made known these days in a seminar of Copa-Cogeca, the representative organization of European agricultural cooperatives and farmers, wrote about this.

The researchers examined both perennial crops, such as apples, olives and citrus fruits, and annual ones such as tomatoes or wheat and conducted 27 case studies in seven European Union countries, outlining the possible repercussions on yields and production and on prices. In a scenario that foresees, alongside a halving of the use of pesticides and nutrients for plants, a percentage equal to at least 10% of agricultural land left to nature, companies will be called to deal with a decrease of between 10 % and 20% of the average production and with an increase in prices.

Davide Vernocchi, fruit and vegetable coordinator of Alleanza Cooperative Agroalimentari, commented: "many Italian companies will be forced to stop growing their apples, while we will see products from Egypt or Turkey arrive on our tables, with quality requirements decidedly lower than European standards". The reduction in the use of fertilizers will in fact result in a lower yield per hectare of fruit and vegetable production: if world food demand remains unchanged, Europe will be forced to close the gap by importing greater quantities of agricultural products. "The Green objectives European deal", concluded Vernocchi, "are certainly ambitious and can be shared also with respect to the protection of biodiversity, but evaluating the possible impacts on production is an exercise that must accompany every political choice, in a dialogue and continuous comparison between producers and consumers".

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EFA News - European Food Agency