Environmental concerns and agricultural policy

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    Europe and North America are key producers of food in the world market and major users of crop protection products. For a number of commodities (e.g., cereals, oilcrops, potatoes, and citrus fruit) they have a considerable share of global food production. Western Europe and North America also account for more than half of the world market of agrochemicals. The E.U., U.S.A., Japan, and Brazil account for about three-quarters of the global market of agrochemicals. When treated properly, the use of crop protection products extends the lifetime of food products in the agrifood chain. Also, food can be supplied in a more uniform manner and have a better appearance. However, residues of these products may harm the natural environment by contamination of groundwater resources, surface waters, and soils, as well as spray drift affecting air quality and biodiversity. A major challenge to agriculture is to internalize these social costs of production properly in farm management practices. Environmental policy measures are taken across the globe to control such external effects of production on the natural environment. Agricultural policy is a main area of public intervention in the agricultural sector, and the use of crop protection products is therefore also affected by such policy measures. Market and price support measures have encouraged the use of crop protection products. More recently, however, efforts have been made to internalize environmentally harmful effects of crop protection products into farming practices, and reforms of agricultural policies could stimulate farmers to change their practice. Agricultural and environmental policy measures could both support the effort to reduce pressure on the natural environment, and their interactions with the use of crop protection products are of major societal interest. This is the subject of the current contribution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science
    EditorsR.M. Goodman
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherMarcel Dekker
    Number of pages3
    ISBN (Print)9780824709440
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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