Syngenta, Bayer propose plan on bee health

ZURICH, March 28 Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:13am EDT

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ZURICH, March 28(Reuters) - Syngenta and Bayer , leading global producers of neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for a sharp fall in bee populations around the world, have proposed an action plan to help unlock a European Union stalemate on bee health.

The move comes after EU governments failed earlier this month to agree a ban on three widely used pesticides linked to the decline of honeybees, although the European Commission could force one through unless member states agree a compromise.

Syngenta and Bayer say the harmful effects on bees is unproven and that a ban would cost the EU economy billions.

"This comprehensive plan will bring valuable insights into the area of bee health, whereas a ban on neonicotinoids would simply close the door to understanding the problem," Syngenta chief operating officer John Atkin said in a statement.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson)