Copa, Cogeca urge MEPs to approve fertiliser plan

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Copa & Cogeca have urged MEPs to approve the draft opinions by MEPs Jan Huitema and Elisabetta Gardini on the review of the EU fertilizer regulation which are set to be voted on by European Parliaments Environment and Agriculture Committees on Tuesday.

The review aims to harmonise rules across the EU for marketing fertilizer products on the EU market. It harmonizes cadmium levels across the EU in phosphorus fertilizer products and includes an approval procedure for marketing other fertilizer products like slow and controlled release fertilizers and organic fertilizers marked EU.

“But Copa and Cogeca are worried that if mineral fertilizers are not strictly defined under the rules, the quality of the product will be reduced. We want a clear definition of mineral fertilizers which sets higher standards for nutrient content and an EU restricted list of types of mineral fertilizers . We are also concerned about the proposed cadmium level in phosphate fertilizers in the proposal. We want a maximum level of cadmium in phosphate fertilisers set, equal or more than 60 mg/kg P2O5 after a sufficient transitional period of 15 years for implementation of the EU harmonised level. There is no scientific  evidence to justify the levels proposed by the Commission. Moreover, the Commission has not estimated the impact of  not having phosphate available for plants on the yield and quality as well as on the increased production costs for farmers due to the scarcity of low cadmium phosphate rock worldwide. We can consequently support the compromise amendment 14 tabled in the draft Opinion by Ms Gardini ”, Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said.

He continued: “Slow and controlled release fertilizers have become essential in ornamental and vegetable horticulture and they have many environmental benefits. But the Commission has proposed setting criteria for the decomposition of binding polymers that are not compatible with the function of biodegradable polymers. We consequently do support the compromise  amendment 9 in the draft Opinion tabled by Parliaments’ Agriculture Committee to adjust the Commission’s proposal on slow and controlled release fertilizers“.

Copa and Cogeca meanwhile welcome as a positive step the EU Commissions’ new rules to boost the use of organic and waste-based fertilizers but warn that they do not get to the core of the problem and more realism is required. We also welcome the fact this proposal extends the scope of the EU fertilizers regulation to include organic fertilizers so that farmers in Europe will have a wider choice of fertilizers and better access. But the new rules will not address the real core of the problem or have a significant impact, he warned. “Compromise amendments by MEPs to both the draft opinions are a step in the right direction” Pekka Pesonen  concluded.

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