Pesticides: Minister Christophe Béchu assures that he understands the “concern” linked to the postponement of the Ecophyto plan

The government is just asking for time

Pesticides: Minister Christophe Béchu assures that he understands the “concern” linked to the postponement of the Ecophyto plan

The government is just asking for time. This is the message delivered in La Tribune Dimanche on Sunday February 4 by the Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, regarding the Ecophyto plan, which Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced on Thursday was being put on hold.

“We did not announce that we were authorizing a molecule, or that we were going to modify the rules on the proximity of local residents and on the catchment areas which allow the supply of drinking water”, puts Mr. Béchu into perspective, then that the program is supposed to halve pesticide use by 2030 (compared to 2015-2017). “We simply said that we needed three weeks – until the Agricultural Show – to re-discuss the tools that will be deployed this year,” summarized Mr. Béchu, rather discreet throughout the crisis which shook the agricultural world these last two weeks.

“Health and the protection of biodiversity are red lines,” he recalled, saying he understood the “concern” raised by the Prime Minister’s announcement. On Wednesday, the day before Gabriel Attal's announcements, Mr. Béchu reaffirmed that there could be no "pretext to go back on the ecological transition", during his wishes to those involved in ecology.

The French measurement indicator criticized

The minister also wants to use these three weeks to “specify the use of the additional 250 million euros” dedicated to the protection of nature and water in 2024 in order to reduce the use of pesticides. And he considered it unsatisfactory that France uses an indicator for measuring pesticide use (called NODU) that is different from a European indicator: "Giving ourselves a few weeks to discuss the European indicator, that does not seem to us absolutely not be a questioning of our principles,” he says. The major French cereal producers are very opposed to the French indicator which, they say, does not reflect the drop in consumption of active substances in the fields.

On the Green Deal − or European Green Deal −, Christophe Béchu called for “finding the pace that is compatible with these ambitions”.

“When you ban pesticides in France, and you allow products to arrive from abroad using these same pesticides on the shelves of our supermarkets, where is the consistency, ecological and health, for biodiversity? », questioned the minister.