Farmers need pesticides to grow food

Editor:

In response to your story “Wise use of pesticides poses low risk to bees” on June 10, the title says it all – pesticides used wisely pose a low risk to bees.

Pesticides – just like pollinators – are critical for Canadian farmers. Some farmers rely on bees for pollination, and bees rely on some farmers’ crops as an important source of nutrition. Pesticides are tools to protect crops from the devastation of insects, weeds, and disease.

All pesticides are rigorously regulated in Canada by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Canada’s regulatory process is stringent, world-renowned, and ensures all pesticides that are used in Canada are safe for both people and the environment.

Contrary to some of the information presented in the article, PMRA is not banning any neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides in Canada, though some specific uses have been canceled and others will be restricted.

When it comes to pollinators, PMRA recently confirmed that in the vast majority of cases, neonic chemicals can be used effectively without unacceptable risk to pollinators.

Neonics are a widely used production tool for canola production in western Canada and canola is an important food source for bees. Beekeepers in western Canada have developed a mutually-beneficial relationship with canola producers.

Paul van Westendorp, the provincial apiarist, is correct – there is a negligible risk when pesticides are used properly.

Farmers and beekeepers work together to ensure crops are pollinated and bees are healthy. BeeConnected is an app anonymously connecting farmers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators to share hive locations and pesticide application activities.

Just as we need bees, farmers need tools like pesticides to provide safe, high-quality affordable foods while ensuring our environment is protected.

Bees, like humans, need a varied diet from a number of sources to be healthy. Adding bee-friendly flowers to yards or gardens is another way to fuel bees and help them thrive. Get a free seed packet at BeesMatter.ca.

Sincerely,

Pierre Petelle

President, CropLife Canada

Ottawa

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