As France phases out common pesticides, regulator says farmers still need crop chemicals to control new plant diseases

France needs to retain pesticides to combat new plant diseases spread by international trade and climate change even as it tries to phase out some crop chemicals like glyphosate, the country’s health and safety agency said.

A first case was confirmed in France [in February] of a virus that can ravage tomato plants, which the ANSES agency said was one of a growing list of emerging diseases that risked taking hold in the country.

“…. The main response is eradication: you destroy and you disinfect,” ANSES director general Roger Genet told reporters on [Feb. 24] at the annual Paris farm show. “We need to keep a range of effective molecules and at the same time reduce their use as much as possible,” he said.

Related article:  Blind precaution: Europe's obsession with Precautionary Principle blocks agricultural innovation

As the agency that delivers permits for crop pesticides, ANSES has been at the center of fierce debate over pesticide use, including a government plan to phase out common weedkiller glyphosate.

ANSES said in December that it was withdrawing licenses for dozens of weedkillers due to insufficient data on safety risks or where there were alternatives, as it continued a government-requested review of glyphosate-based products.

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