Can the world feed a growing population without pesticides? Are the environmental and health impacts of pesticides fully understood? Is the correct regulatory framework in place to mitigate any risks? Would food prices go up if we cut back on pesticides, and would the public accept it?

On Wednesday 11 October, Debating Europe held a live debate in the European Parliament as part of our online debate Sustainable agriculture: with or without pesticides? We put questions and comments sent in from our readers to a panel of experts representing both sides of the debate.

Taking part on the panel were:

  • Martin Dermine, Pollinator Project Coordinator at Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN – Europe);
  • Faustine Bas-Defossez, Policy Manager for Agriculture and Bioenergy at European Environmental Bureau (EEB);
  • Paolo De Castro, Member of the European Parliament with the Socialist & Democrats and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Graeme Taylor, Director of Public Affairs at the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA).

You can watch the video of the debate at the top of this page. You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #WithorWithout!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Richard Allaway
Editorially independent content supported by: The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA). See our FAQ for more details.

22 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Daniel Parvanov

    Europe Can, poor 3rd world countries need to switch to GMO, but EU do not need to produce more as we throw out food for 140 billions

  2. avatar
    Lynne Warner

    Good luck with that. Get ready for organic foods that are eaten by bugs, killed off by aphids, ants, rust, black spot, mildew, mealie bugs, etc. Etc. Big corporations will be buying up failed farms and planting patented gmo crops, which is the main aim.

    • avatar
      Lynne Warner

      Have you ever farmed Kirstie Mamoyo Rogers? And please share with me. I am an avid gardener who has lived the farming life.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      Lynne Warner, good luck with farming and gardening when all the bees disappear, poisoned by pesticides…

  3. avatar
    Vytautas Vėžys

    That’s what happens when politicians who have no clue about agriculture starts telling farmers how they should grow food…

  4. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    If the EU were to ban pesticides it would bring about the worse famine in Europe for centuries, but they would do it anyway just so they can prove their barking mad SJW credentials.

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      This is what the pesticide manufacturers want you to believe, so they can secure their clients and the usual huge profits for the year. Do you really think they would give that up, even if it meant causing the worst cancer epidemic in Europe and destroying the bee population? Of course not, they would tell you any lie you want to hear, just for you to BELIEVE and buy their products… After all, money is much more important than health, isn’t it? It is billions we are talking about… Can you have a sustainable business, if the public know the truth about how harmful your product is? Of course, not and pesticide companies are all about business, not health or environment.

    • avatar

      Maia is right

  5. avatar
    Monique Taxhet

    Much better to eliminate pesticides as much as possible. Not only for human health, but despite us being unhappy about bug, they exist for some reason and should be controlled, yes, but not wiped out. So subsidies for agriculture without pesticides or very little is the best way forward for me.

  6. avatar
    Alfonso Minale

    Ma i pesticidi, vengono dalle multinazionali……per cui è una battaglia persa, ci vuole tanto coraggio e noi non ce lo abbiamo, i governi poi…..

    • avatar
      Joe Canti

      Non è una battaglia persa… Difficile si, però. Dobbiamo essere noi consapevole

  7. avatar
    George Skaracis

    It appears that there are still many people who fantasize a ” the little house on the prairies” life style..
    Well folks, real life is quite unfair and more difficult than that! There is no way of satisfying the demands for the 4 f ‘s in the years to come without resorting to all weaponry available against pests and diseases: resistant varieties and pesticides. And since varietal resistance usually does not suffice, pesticides are a must. Provided of course that they are rationally exploited. This is exactly what sustainable IPM is all about!!@

    • avatar
      Maia Alexandrova

      Yes, life is unfair, so we should accept cancer as something normal and necessary and also start designing robot bees to prepare for the time when we will have to pollinate our crops ourselves, because the real bees will be gone…

  8. avatar
    Nina Davies

    Yes, yes, yes. All the scientific eveidence points that way. But sadly we have destroyed so many insect species with chemical killers that many natural predators of crop-eating insects have been eliminated. We need to allow them to regenerate.

  9. avatar
    Paolo Gazzola

    Halymorpha Alys is forcing Italy back on the Pesticide Boulevard, after 2 decades of efforts to have organic treatments.

  10. avatar
    Joe Canti

    Pesticides have given us more abundant, stable crop harvests, but at a cost… They are resource intensive to make and apply, they are dependent on cheap oil, and their toxicity and bioaccumulation in biological systems is causing serious problems to all forms of life – most notably the lost in microbial diversity in our soils as well as our own microbiota on which our health depends.

    They were a necessary part of our evolution, but it is time we move on and find new solutions more in line with our current biological understanding, working with the soil instead of against it before it is too late. Pesticides represent a shortcut that we will end up paying for later…so now is the moment to invest in biocompatible solutions so that in a couple of years we have a viable alternative for when the negatives of chemical agriculture begin to hit home. In an oil free world, closed cycle regenerative agriculture is our best bet. There are already real life examples of farms following these principles and getting impressive yields as they refine the techniques, but they will remain experimental unless we actively start creating a new reality.

  11. avatar

    No pesticides! The environment is more important than always growing profits!

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