The debate on neonicotinoids is relaunched due to a consultation on the extension of the derogation granted to beet growers beyond 2022. The sugar beet sector had obtained a 3-year derogation at the end of 2020 to use neonicotinoid pesticides and against viral jaundice as well as a decrease in their production. Viral yellows is transmitted to plants by green aphids, which explains the use of pesticides. Today, the extension of this derogation is the subject of an online public consultation open until January 24, 2023 included. However, with the current derogation, funds had been released to allow the development of alternatives to the use of neonicotinoids in the sector. Neonicotinoids have been banned in Europe and France since 1er September 2018. Their toxicity is recognized, the best known of the phytosanitary products of this family; nicknamed “the bee killers”, is glyphosate.
An unjustified derogation for NGOs
” Today, the scientific information available to us in no way justifies the request for a new derogation for the use of neonicotinoids for sugar beet seeds. “said François Veillerette, spokesperson for Générations Futures in a press release. ” We therefore ask the Ministries concerned to refrain from granting this unjustified derogation for substances that are extremely dangerous for the environment and health. he adds.
Existing alternatives to neonicotinoids
The 2020 derogation was of a provisional nature, the time to find alternatives. However, as early as 2018, ANSES (the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) had identified alternatives to the use of pesticides in the treatment of beet crops. In 2021, the agency renewed its work and identified 22 possible alternatives, including 4 available immediately and 18 others deployable in 3 years. ” As part of the first expertise, we had an overview, with 130 uses analyzed,” explains Emmanuel Gachet on the ANSES website, Scientific Expertise Coordinator and Head of the Biological Risk Expertise Unit of ANSES’s Plant Health Laboratory. ” Here, we focused on the two aphid species primarily responsible for transmitting jaundice viruses, the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) and the black bean aphid (Aphis fabae) to identify quickly available solutions for sugar beet. Among the possible solutions, the use of natural products, such as oils, biocontrol – that is to say the use of insects that prey on aphids -, or even not to practice beet monoculture on the plot. . The agency explains that such practices actually require an additional effort on the part of the operators since it writes that ” most of the alternative solutions considered substitutable for neonicotinoids show correct but insufficient efficacy, in use alone, to reduce the levels of damage to an acceptable economic threshold. »
The page of website of the Ministry of Agriculture devoted to public consultation: draft order temporarily authorizing the use of sugar beet seeds treated with plant protection products containing the active substances imidacloprid or thiamethoxam and specifying the crops that can be sown, planted or replanted in subsequent campaigns
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