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Exit pesticides

The EU agricultural system is completely dependent on synthetic pesticides – this has to change!

What’s the problem?

The human food production system currently faces several serious threats: climate change, loss of biodiversity and rural exodus. Pesticides, as a part of “modern” agriculture are a main cause of these threats. 

Since the very beginning of their use, the negative side effects of pesticides have been observed. Pests quickly became resistant. Pesticides eradicate beneficial organisms and may cause even more pests. Both resistance and resurgence are leading to higher pesticide use. The agricultural system of the European Union is dependent on the use of pesticides to a degree that is commonly described as “lock-in”.

What is the solution?

The agricultural system has to change tremendously in the coming decades. Most political and economic “tools” for transforming agriculture and eliminating pesticide use already exist. They just need to be implemented and/or strongly improved.

  • The most urgent step is an EU-wide introduction of a pesticide tax. This would help to effectively reduces pesticides in taxing harmful substances more heavily than safe ones. 
  • Additionally, a reform of the current pesticide authorisation practice is needed. The current authorisation practice is too weak and allows almost any application applied for. All authorisations for pesticides should be reviewed for their absolute necessity.
  • Further, EU agricultural subsidies should be paid out for stopping the use of pesticides. This would make it economically worthwhile for farmers to escape the pesticide trap.

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What is foodwatch doing?

foodwatch has developed an innovative approach for a pesticide-free EU: The crop by crop pesticide-reduction plan. Read more in the report. For each crop (from maize to apples) the plan described the steps to freeing the EU from pesticides. All instruments are available, and a production decline is not to be feared.

Additionally, foodwatch is urging supermarkets to stop selling grain products that contain pesticides. The excessive use of pesticides on cereal fields endangers bees and contaminates our bread. Supermarkets like Aldi or Carrefour have the power to stop this harmful practice and could significantly reduce pesticide use in Germany by selling only pesticide-free cereal products.