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Monday March 15, after two years of ban, the Council of State validated the temporary reintroduction of neonicotinoids for the sugar beet industry. As this decision applies to pesticides highly criticized for their impact on bees, it reopens the debate on their use.
The sugar beet industry obtained this re-authorization after a two-year ban which, according to it, would have resulted in 30% crop losses, or 280 million euros. Benoît Biteau, MEP, peasant agronomist, asserts that this bill is being paid in terms of health and that animals are also concerned.
If they are united under the name of “pesticides”, these substances, chemical or natural, have very varied uses and compositions. They are used to destroy organisms considered harmful to agricultural production, and are divided into three main categories:
– herbicides (against weeds),
– insecticides (against insects)
– and fungicides (against fungi).
Currently, 90% of farmers use these pesticides, and their impact is worrying.
Pesticides impact vital resources such as the air we breathe at all times, the water we drink every day, the food we put on our plates. The presence of these synthetic molecules endangers the health of almost everyone.Benoît Biteau, MEP, farmer agronomist
Moreover, according toassociation Respire, the fine particles emitted into the atmosphere at the time of spraying weaken the respiratory tract and even, according to some scientists, could spread the virus and thus promote the circulation of covid-19.
In addition to health, the use of these products leads to a degradation of biodiversity and they are responsible for the disappearance of 70% of insects and therefore 40% of birds.
To avoid these disastrous consequences, there are now many alternatives such as mechanical weeding with robots, or even biocontrol, with the use of entomophagous insects, predators of other insects, such as the ladybug: living organisms or natural substances prevent or reduce the damage caused by pests.
Today, biocontrol is used in almost 90% of farms. On outdoor farms, alternatives such as garlic-based solutions are also used.
Guillaume Cabot, vice-president of the young farmers’ union
More surprisingly, some use microalgae harvested off the coast of Brittany to fight against downy mildew, a parasite. In the case of the corn borer, a pest butterfly known to corn growers, a research center in Sophia Antipolis is testing mini larvae-eating wasps. Field experiments have already started and the results are encouraging. Experiments supported by Benoît Biteau, who judges that “we have actors in agriculture who know how to do otherwise. Let’s look at what they are doing and use these references to popularize them and deploy them on a large scale. We must accompany them! “
Look at this rreport by Hugo Chapelon and Stéphane Hyvon, broadcast on September 8, 2016 on France 3 Auvergne-Rhône Alpes.
Although the government’s goal is to halve the use of plant protection products by 2025, the issue of transition aid and timing continues to divide.
While environmentalists and agroecologists believe the transition needs to happen now, farmers using intensive practices want more time for this transition. However, the will is there: use of new technologies, more environmentally friendly practices or even observation of dynamics in the environment, alternatives applied by more and more producers concerned about their future and that of generations. futures.
To make decisions, it will therefore be necessary to give this community the means to make its transition!