In 2008, the French government announced a dramatic shift in agricultural policy, calling for pesticide use to be slashed in half. And it wanted to hit that target in just a decade. No other country with as large and diverse an agricultural system had tried anything so ambitious ….
Since then, the French government has spent nearly half a billion euros on implementing the plan, called Ecophyto. It created a network of thousands of farms that test methods of reducing chemical use, improved national surveillance of pests and plant diseases, and funded research on technologies and techniques that reduce pesticide use. It has imposed taxes on farm chemicals in a bid to decrease sales, and even banned numerous pesticides, infuriating many farmers.
The effort has helped quench demand on some farms. Overall, however, Ecophyto has failed miserably. Instead of declining, national pesticide use has increased by 12%, largely mirroring a rise in farm production ….
The French government agrees. Officials are now finalizing a revised plan dubbed Ecophyto 2+. It will boost research, add demonstration farms, increase taxes on pesticides, and prohibit more compounds. President Emmanuel Macron has even urged a ban of glyphosate, the world’s best-selling weed killer and an important tool for many farmers.
Read full, original article: France’s decade-old effort to slash pesticide use failed. Will a new attempt succeed?