Our second commentary comes from Jenny Denhartog of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario
The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario supports the government’s commitment to working with the agricultural stakeholders as it looks for input regarding pollinator health in the context of Ontario’s food system. The organization agrees that unprecedented, sustained high pollinator mortality levels warrant a response from all stakeholders to work in collaboration with government to minimize impact on pollinators.
The Proposal for Enhancing Pollinator Health and Reducing the Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Ontario was recently posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights. The government plans to develop a Pollinator Health Action Plan through stakeholder engagement, aimed to “improve the state of health of pollinators in Ontario, and to strengthen population in order to promote a sustainable food supply, healthy ecosystems and a strong economy.”
“Farmers take their responsibility as caretakers and stewards of the land and resources, including pollinators, very seriously. Last year, the message from the grassroots membership clearly was to support efforts to mitigate the impact of neonicotinoids on pollinators, while at the same time recognizing that there are circumstances under which the use of neonicotinoids is needed. Ontario government’s consultation process with farmers and other stakeholders is the right approach to moving forward,” according to Clarence Nywening, CFFO Vice-President.
Nywening also indicated that there are areas in the consultation document that are cause for concern, such as the very aggressive goal to reduce the use of neonicotinoid treated seed by 80 per cent by the year 2017. In addition, ever-evolving science and technology has a chance to develop sufficient safeguards, which could make regulatory changes and additional red tape for the agricultural industry unnecessary. Nywening noted that government needs to hear those concerns and ideas as it goes through the consultation process.
The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario supports the government’s approach to dealing with this Important issue and emphasizes the need to ensure that economic, environmental and social concerns are all taken into consideration and solutions are aimed at developing an environment in which businesses flourish and our ecological impact is reduced over time. The organization encourages Ontario’s farmers and other stakeholders to become involved in the consultation process.