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Pesticides: An open crisis between the government and environmental associations over the Ecophyto plan

Prime Minister Gabriel Atal protested the suspension of the Ecophyto plan, which is supposed to reduce the consumption of phytosanitary products by 50% by 2030 (2015-2017). “Time to set a new indicator” A reference to measure their use. This turned into an open crisis with environmental associations. Future generations, the French natural environment, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Nature and Human Fund, the League for the Protection of Birds and even the doctors’ warning about pesticides have slammed the door of the steering committee’s strategy and monitoring of the Ecophyto plan. meeting on Monday, February 12, so that it does not happen “Prove a 15-year step back.”

In a joint statement, non-governmental organizations believe that “Will question the NODU indicator [nombre de doses unités]is to question the reduction in pesticide use […] And, therefore, the existence of the Ecofito plan ». The NODU indicator, which has been in place in France since the launch of the first Ecophyto plan in 2009, measures the amount of treatment applied per hectare. Based on specific reference doses for each active substance, it has the advantage of considering the effectiveness of molecules that, with the same tonnage, can have very different effects on health and the environment. The agrochemical industry and the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA) are campaigning for another benchmark, the Harmonized Risk Indicator (HRI-1), which weights pesticide use by a factor that should reflect their hazard.

Proposed by the European Commission as part of a regulation on pesticide use – rejected by members of the European Parliament in November 2023, then withdrawn by the European Executive on February 6 – the figure was qualified as “mistakenly” By the German health authorities: They believe that this will lead to a false reduction. Based on data provided by the European Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture, the Générations Futures Association compared the results in France using two indicators between 2011 and 2021. According to HRI-1, pesticide use is reduced by 32%, while NODU increases by 3%.

On Monday, February 12, at the conclusion of the Ecophyto Plan Strategic Orientation Committee, the government indicated a 50% reduction in pesticide use by 2030. “saved” But the choice of indicator used to measure this decline was not “I haven’t done it yet”. The arbitration should take place on February 24, before the opening of the International Agricultural Show. “We don’t break the thermometer”People around the Prime Minister are commenting. “The French indicator will not be abandonedThe executive authorities claim to appease non-governmental organizations. It will be integrated into the indicators panel. » From the same source, we remind you that 250 million euros will be devoted to the search for alternatives to pesticides, within the framework of the plan, which is still being discussed. The first Ecophyto plan launched after the Grenell Environmental Forum in 2009 already aimed to reduce the use of herbicides, fungicides and other insecticides by 50% in ten years.

Source: Le Monde

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