EU governments recently passed a total ban on bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides on outdoor crops. This comprehensive neonicotinoid ban, covering all outdoor crops, is considered a tremendous victory for bees and the wider environment by NGOs such as Friends of the Earth.
Martin Galea De Giovanni, director of Friends of the Earth Malta, said the European Commission must now focus on developing a strong pollinator initiative that boosts bee-friendly habitat and helps farmers cut pesticide-use. He said many farmers are already successfully growing crops without neonicotinoids but too many other damaging chemicals and practices are still used. “Farmers need more support from the European Commission and national governments to farm with nature – not against it,” he said.
Mr Galea De Giovanni commended the Maltese authority’s support for the ban and explained how FoE Malta is proposing that government draws up a national strategy or action plan for bees and pollinators linked to biodiversity and climate change actions, food security and farming initiatives and rural and urban development plans. Such a strategy is already available in other European countries including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Norway.
Moreover, on a European level, Friends of the Earth groups in Europe are calling for an overhaul of the EU’s food and farming system to make it less dependent on pesticides, via a concrete pollinator strategy and a radical change to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The European Commission is expected to issue its proposals for CAP reform on May 31.
Mr Galea De Giovanni commented: “Our lives would be poorer in many ways in a world without bees. We take bees and other pollinating creatures for granted at our peril. They are vital for a resilient, thriving natural environment and for stable, healthy food supplies including the varied, colourful and nutritious diets we have come to expect.”
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