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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Towards chemical pesticide free agriculture

Our vision

  • The European Commission set a vision with the new “European Green Deal”...
  • ...and its strategies such as “Zero Pollution Ambition”, “Biodiversity 2030” and “Farm to Fork”. These strategies will combine several action plans aiming to reduce environmental pollution while ensuring plant protection, to provide all European citizen with nutritious and safe food and to stop deforestation, land degradation, and protect species and habitats. An agriculture free of chemical pesticides is a common denominator between these strategies, as pesticide use – and agricultural practices induced by the associated production system – leads to biodiversity erosion, soil and water pollution and threatens human and ecosystem health.
  • It also responds to a strong societal call for an agriculture respectful of farmers and of biodiversity.

To be sustainable, this transition must be achieved without prejudice to the economic performance of farms and sectors that would not find any compensation in environmental or social sides. At a regulatory level, the Directive 2009/128/EC established a framework to achieve sustainable use of PPPs.

However, in practice, we are facing an indisputable verdict: pesticide use did not decrease in Europe (Eurostat 2018), despite of all these national and European efforts.

Vision 1

At a research and innovation level, under H2020, almost 160 million euros were invested in plant health related projects. Most of them focused on targeted pests and/or crops or on specific approaches. No project ever sought to address this question under the prism of an agriculture free of chemical pesticide. This led to innovations that stay restricted to the current food production system.

To meet European Green Deal objectives in terms of pesticide reduction, research and innovation has to set an ambitious vision of the future, based upon a paradigm shift, and to propose and assess solutions at farm and territory levels. Practices reoriented towards preventive/prophylactic methods, avoiding or limiting the establishment of pests and regulating their population growth should be promoted as many are currently used empirically without being identified, evaluated or, even, being confronted to sets of references.