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30 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM he last couple of months have seen fur- ther developments in the long running debate over whether neonicotinoid pes- ticides impact the health of bees and the envi- ronment. To find out the latest European Seed spoke with Georg Goeres Syngentas EAME Head of Seedcare. The developments follow the imposi- tion of a restriction in 2013 by the European Commission on some uses of these pesticides particularly those used to treat seed or as granules. More recently the European Food Safety Authority EFSA issued a further report on other uses of neonicotinoid pesti- cides such as foliar applications in which it used an unapproved regulatory standard to highlight data gaps and potential risks to bees. However EFSA and the European Commission appear to be increasingly out of step with its own Member States. Several EU countries argue that whether it is for seed treatment or foliar applications these data gaps and potential risks are only emerging because of the use of an unapproved low-tier and overly precautionary regulatory stand- ard known as the EFSA Bee Risk Guidance Document. Member States continue to argue that the technology can be used safely which is why countries like Denmark Finland Romania and the United Kingdom amongst others have allowed their farmers to continue to use neon- icotinoid seed treatments albeit on a more limited basis. This is consistent with the posi- tion of Syngenta who has repeatedly argued that the evidence base and process through which the European Commission restricted the technology was flawed and is why legal action was taken by both Syngenta and Bayer CropScience. I ndee d m a ny sc ient i f ic st a ke - holders argue that neonicotinoid pesti- cides actually play a limited role in bee health which they believe to be influ- enced to a much greater extent by weather access to food and disease and viruses. SUPPORT FROM OTHER QUARTERS In this respect these stakeholders have been supported by some rather unlikely allies. The British Bee Keepers Association along with a growing number of other similar organisations in Europe expressed concern that the restric- tion on neonicotinoids may force farmers to use older technologies which may have a more detrimental impact on the health of pollinators like bees. Certainly market research suggests that growers in an effort to combat alarm- ingly high levels of flea beetle infestations have fallen back to using such older pesticides and spraying their crops more frequently. In fact the leading voice for Europes producers COPA-COGECA expects to see EU oilseed rape OSR production to drop by 10.6 per cent. They also anticipate a 7.5 per cent decline in Neonicotinoids and Bees Separating Fact From Fiction The seed industry speaks out on the ban of neonicotinoids seed treatments as the full impact of the ban is felt on EU crop production. BY GEORG GOERES WHAT ARE YOU THINKING IS YOUR MIND SET We provide an objective informed and independent analysis covering strategic reviews alliances acquisitions and divestments. Perception is not always reality. Green Resources Adverts 210w x 63h_Layout 1 23092015 1229 Page 1