The French Ministry of Agriculture, along with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Research and the Ministry of the Environment, have launched a policy dialogue on reducing the use of chemical substances in agriculture that pose significant concerns for health. The ministries released a roadmap for the dialogue, identifying four main priorities to achieve their goal, with several different propositions to respond to each of the priorities.
The first priority is to rapidly decrease the use of substances of the most concern for health and the environment. As part of this, the process of evaluating pesticides would be improved, and removal of substances of most concern with the European calendar would be monitored. Additionally, the proposal includes further engagement with industry actors, and a legally required separation of distribution/sales of these chemicals and advice given to their users.
The second large priority is concentrated on structuring and strengthening research on the impacts of pesticides products on health. Improving research coordination, preventing the public from being exposed to these products, and better informing the population and farmers about them are all proposed as part of this priority.
Priority 3 focuses on increasing research into developing alternative products and putting in place solutions for farmers. This includes strengthening research for operational solutions, particularly for finding alternatives to herbicides, supporting the development of biocontrol methods, and making the use of natural alternatives that pose little or no risk to health significantly easier.
Finally, Priority 4 focuses on reinforcing and improving France’s Ecophyto 2 plan to reduce the use of chemicals in agriculture.