Next Tuesday, the European Parliament is going to vote on legislation which could ban around a quarter of pesticides in the EU. Gordon Brown, Hilary Benn, along with farmers and industry have denounced the legislation’s spurious scientific grounds and its potential consequences; lower yields, increased food prices and a fatal blow to crops like carrots.
But it seems as though the EU isn’t just shooting itself in the foot; a new report by the Campaign for Fighting Diseases reveals that the legislation could also undermine the market for public health insecticides and seriously damage the fight against malaria in Africa.
Insecticides are vital for controlling malaria, a disease which claims over one million lives every year, mostly in young children.
Insecticide markets are based almost entirely on crop protection; public health insecticides represent only around one percent of the total pesticides market. Without the agricultural market, production for public health will almost certainly become unsustainable. Insecticides will become harder to get a hold of and more expensive. There will also be little incentive for industry to invest in research and development of new insecticides.
It is also likely that the EU will apply import restrictions so that foreign producers are subject to the same conditions as EU farmers. This trade barrier will leave countries with the terrible choice of banning public health insecticides or losing the lucrative EU market for exports.
This legislation runs against EU support to eradicate malaria and encourage agricultural exports from Africa. The EU is putting spurious environmentalism before people.