News
November 25, 2014
Mouse in the house? Unintended consequences of knee-jerk decision-making

Having a mouse in your house is something most people want to avoid. But imagine you’re a farmer with a field of mice, nibbling away at your crops and destroying your harvest.

For many Romanian farmers, this is the reality they are currently facing due to a rapidly implemented policy which didn’t consider the practical and real world implications for farmers, and has resulted in unintended consequences for Romania’s wheat harvest.

Romania is currently experiencing an unprecedented attack of field mice.  To date, over 6 percent of Romania’s wheat harvest has been destroyed by field mice, leaving damages worth EUR 40 million. This attack follows the very hastily implemented ‘plant protection policy’ that began in 2013.  This policy was rushed through to comply with EU regulations, without any rational consideration given to the consequences of suddenly calling ‘halt’ to long standing farm management practices which have protected farmers’ harvests for decades.

The outcome is that many Romanian farmers have been left unable to effectively protect their crops. Given that Romania is one of Europe’s leading wheat producers, and that wheat production is one of the driving forces of Romania’s economy, this has significant implications up and down the food chain.

Sadly, this is an occurrence that’s being repeated around Europe as countries rush to implement restrictions on plant protection products with insufficient consideration as to how the restrictions will affect farmers, food production and supply.

Policy which doesn’t respect– or represent–what farmers need, is no good to anyone, and will only result in unintended consequences that can do more harm than good. Farmers know their land best, and farmers know what their land needs, what works and what doesn’t. It’s about time we started listening to them.

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