The Ulster Farmers’ Union said a vote in the European Parliament to ban the use of plant protection products (PPPs) on ecological focus areas (EFAs) is a blow to farmers.
“Farmers are frustrated. Especially, since the decision by the EU parliament rejects the views of its own agri-committee on the use of PPP’s on EFA’s. The aim of simplifying the CAP greening rules is to make things easier. Sadly, this decision flies in the face of simplification and will only make things more difficult,” said deputy president Ivor Ferguson.
The plan to ban PPP’s on EFA crops had been strongly opposed by the UFU, fellow UK farming unions and several other member states. The ban is set to come into effect for the 2018 claim year.
At the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, a majority of the MEPs voted to follow the lead of their committee. Unfortunately with 78 MEP’s not present, the 376 who voted in favour fell short of the required absolute majority.
“While there are elements in the CAP simplification proposals for greening that could benefit farmers, we are very disappointed with this decision. Despite securing a majority in the voting chamber, due to the number of MEP’s absent it was not an overall majority.
“This means that the CAP simplification package in place for 2018 will likely have a ban on the use of PPPs on some EFA’s. However, there are still many questions and clarification is still needed as to what this decision means in practice,” said Mr Ferguson.