Grower fury as carbaryl remains banned English top fruit growers reacted angrily this week to the government decision to continue to reject the use of Thinsec or carbaryl. The chemical is a thinning agent used to reduce the number of fruit on a tree when it is overloaded in good crop years. The result produces larger sized more marketable apples and pears. What makes them irate is that the practice is permitted on the Continent. The decision was taken some two years ago in a review of organophosphates, although the industry was given several seasons to use up its stocks. But now it cannot buy any more. The NFU, which has been fighting the decision, has estimated that because the only alternative now is to hand thin, this will increase the cost by at least 10 times compared to £20/hectare when the agent was used. Michael Paske, NFU vice-president, has condemned the DEFRA decision, and said the ruling represented lack of government commitment to home grown industries. "With insufficient casual labour to do the job, DEFRA has threatened to send the entire industry to the wall," said Paske. "UK growers may be able to start using carbaryl again if it is successful in the forthcoming European crop review ­ which does not take place until 2008." {{FRESH PRODUCE }}