The Ecophyto plan is part of France’s major plan to shift the agricultural production towards the principles of agro-ecology. Launched in 2008, it aims at reducing the use of pesticides by half by 2018, encouraging farmers to use alternative ways of controlling crops. On December 9th, the annual meeting of the Ecophyto plan monitoring committee took place. It was the occasion for French Minister for Agriculture, Food Industry and Forestry Stéphane Le Foll to underline the encouraging results and to give more details on the upcoming new policies concerning phytosanitary products.

Ecophyto - To Reduce and Make a Better  Use of Phyto

Ecophyto – To Reduce and Make a Better Use of Phyto

The indicator of phytosanitary products use has decreased 5.7% between 2011 and 2012, not taking into account adverse climate conditions. The decrease reaches 11% when accounting for insecticides and herbicides.

 

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr - Example of Mechanical Weeding

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr – An Example of Mechanical Weeding

Stéphane Le Foll noted that the implementation of the concrete actions set out in the plan is on the right track: 300,000 farmers and other professionals got the Ecophyto certification “Certiphyto” and specific platforms for five agricultural activities were set up. The Minister applauded the increasing use of alternative methods to pesticides such as integrated pest management, bio-control, mechanical weeding and cover crops. He also underlined the good work of the DEPHY farm network, which held 200 open-house events to sensitize farmers and has identified 90 efficient cultivation systems in the past year.