Facing decimated yields, French sugar-beet growers demand access to banned neonicotinoid insecticides

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Credit: Dan Chung/Guardian

Since April, the beet yellows virus has destroyed a large part of France’s sugar beet harvest, including nearly 50% of the plantations in Center-Val de Loire. Faced with this crisis, beet growers are sounding the alarm and asking the Government to act quickly.

French sugar beet farmers are facing a disaster. An overgrowth of aphids, spreading viral jaundice, is decimating their crops. This viral jaundice affects five regions in France: Hauts-de-France, Ile-de-France, Normandy, Grand Est and Center-Val de Loire.

Faced with the emergency, the sugar beet growers …. sounded the alarm and sent a letter to the Prime Minister. They are asking the executive for an exemption to use neonicotinoids (banned since 2018) to protect seeds.

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The virus is transmitted by aphid vectors when they bite the beet leaves to remove sap. The green peach aphid, scientifically named Myzus persicae, is the main vector of jaundice.

So far, the beet growers have not received any response from the Government.

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[Editor’s note: This article was published in French and has been translated and edited for clarity.]

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