National Government Interventions in a Global Arena
Edited by Frank Wijen, Kees Zoeteman, Jan Pieters and Paul van Seters
Chapter 9: Globalisation and Crop-Protection Policy
Joost van Kasteren SUMMARY Farmers have long protected their crops. Pesticides have significantly enhanced food productivity, but have also engendered negative effects on the environment and public health. Integrated pest management (IPM) constitutes an alternative protection method that avoids these side-effects. At the global level, the high costs to develop and commercialise new products have led to scale effects: six major suppliers, focusing on five major crops, which are sold on four large markets. Another global development is the Western setting of maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides on crops, which is regarded by many (Third World) exporters as a non-tariff trade barrier. European pesticide legislation is still fragmented, despite efforts to harmonise MRLs. The pesticide policy of the Dutch government is aimed at integral pest management as part of sustainable agriculture. Although constrained by global pressures to abstain from regulation that interferes with the free market, it has been quite successful in fine-tuning European legislation towards local ecological circumstances. INTRODUCTION Globalisation can be defined as the increase of connections between states and societies in the world. This means that decisions, actions, and events in one part of the world have consequences for individuals and societies elsewhere. Globalisation takes place in many areas, including agriculture (which is one of the main themes of the ongoing Doha Round of trade negotiations). As crop protection is inextricably linked with modern agriculture (including organic farming), globalisation has an impact on the policies of national governments as to the authorisation and use of pesticides....
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