A revised National Action Plan for Pesticides must enhance farmers' ability to be competitive and produce safe and affordable food, the NFU has said.
The union has submitted its views to the government consultation on its draft five-year action plan, which closed for responses on Friday (26 February).
The revised plan aims to minimise the risks and impacts of pesticides to human health and the environment, while ensuring pests and pesticide resistance are managed effectively.
Defra sought views from pesticide users, related industries, environmental groups and the public in an effort to move forward on issues surrounding pesticides.
The UK currently has some of the most stringent pesticide regulations in the world.
Under the current plan, the NFU said farmers had been successful in achieving increased training of spray operators, equipment testing, stewardship initiatives as well as establishing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans on farms.
But it said any new revised plan should balance environmental issues with the need to keep British food production productive and competitive.
“While the government rightly focuses on public health and the environment, it’s important that this is balanced," NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said.
"For this, farmers and growers need continued access to more effective tools to protect crops from pests, weeds and disease, and to ensure they can run thriving, profitable businesses.
“We look forward to working with government to develop a revised National Action Plan that protects health and the environment, while also driving sustainable climate-friendly food production in the UK.”
The existing National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides was adopted in 2013.