20 June 2024
French pesticide phase-out delayed

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France’s government is facing criticism for putting on hold a key green policy aimed at phasing out the use of pesticides. Environmental campaigners and opposition politicians have accused the government of appeasing protesting farmers by scrapping the policy.

French Pesticide Phase-Out Suspension: A Deeper Dive

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The French government’s suspension of a 15-year plan to phase out pesticides and weedkillers has drawn criticism from environmentalists and opposition politicians. The government seeks to appease protesting farmers who have expressed concerns about the plan’s impact on their livelihood and the lack of viable alternatives.


The Ecophyto plan aimed to halve the use of pesticides by 2030 compared to 2015-2017 levels. However, farmers argue that the plan poses challenges to their economic viability, particularly in the face of cheaper imports from countries with less stringent environmental regulations. They also raise concerns about the availability of effective alternatives to pesticides.

Government’s Response:

The government spokeswoman, Prisca Thevenot, defended the decision, stating that previous measures to reduce pesticide use had not been effective and needed to be reassessed. She emphasized the need to support farmers and find alternative solutions, without specifying the nature of these solutions.

President Macron’s Stance:

President Emmanuel Macron, who made the environment a key focus of his 2022 re-election campaign, raised concerns among activists when he called for a pause in environmental regulations at the European Union level, proposing a plan to “reindustrialize” France. Macron argued that Europe had already taken significant environmental actions compared to other industrial powers.

Agricultural Union’s Perspective:

Arnaud Rousseau, the head of France’s largest rural union, the FNSEA, expressed optimism that the decision to halt pesticide reduction would help rebuild trust between the agricultural sector and the government. He acknowledged the need to find solutions that motivate everyone in the sector.

Environmentalists’ Concerns:

Environmentalists have criticized the government’s decision, arguing that it undermines progress toward a more sustainable agricultural model. They emphasize the risks associated with pesticides, including increased illness, bird and insect mortality, and the need for a transition to more sustainable practices.

Implications for Farmers:

Marie Toussaint, a Greens member of the European Parliament, expressed concern that the decision to pause pesticide reduction is a “poisoned chalice” for farmers. She highlighted the health risks associated with pesticides and the importance of moving toward a more sustainable agricultural model.

Government’s Commitment:

The government has stated that it remains committed to the Ecophyto 2030 plan but will spend an extra month on it to ensure that farmers understand it as support rather than punishment. The government aims to find alternative solutions to address farmers’ concerns and support their transition to more sustainable practices.

Wrapping Up:

The French government’s decision to suspend the pesticide phase-out has sparked controversy, with environmentalists and opposition politicians expressing concerns about the impact on the environment and farmers’ health. The government maintains that the decision is necessary to support farmers and find viable alternatives to pesticides. The debate highlights the challenges in balancing environmental protection with the economic realities faced by farmers.


1. What is the primary reason for the French government’s decision to halt the pesticide phase-out?

The decision is based on concerns about the impact of the plan on the economic viability of French famers, especially when facing competition from countries with less stringent environmental regulations.

2. What was the objective of the original plan, known as the “Ecophyto” plan?

The “Ecophyto” plan was intended to reduce the use of pesticides by half compared to 2015-2017 levels by the year 2030.

3. How have environmentalists reacted to the decision?

Environmentalists have criticized the government’s decision, expressing concerns that it may undermine progress toward more environmentally friendly and safer practices in the French countryside.

4. What did President Emmanuel Macron say about environmental regulations in his 2022 re-election campaign?

Macron emphasized the importance of environmental protection but also called for a review of existing regulations, proposing a plan to “reindustrialize” France and arguing that Europe had already taken significant environmental actions compared to other industrial powers.

5. How have French famers reacted to the government’s decision?

Farmers have generally welcomed the decision, with the head of France’s biggest rural union expressing optimism that it would help rebuild trust between the government and the sector.

Links to additional Resources:

1. www.france24.com 2. www.lemonde.fr 3. www.liberation.fr

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: French Pesticide Phase-Out Suspension, Ecophyto Plan, President Emmanuel Macron

Neonicotinoids (sometimes shortened to neonics ) are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine, developed by scientists at Shell and Bayer in the 1980s.Neonicotinoids are among the widest-used insecticides in crop protection. They are also widely employed for veterinary purposes including tick and flea control. The first generation...
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Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron (French: [emanɥɛl makʁɔ̃]; born 21 December 1977) is a French politician who has been President of France since 2017. Macron is ex officio one of the two Co-Princes of Andorra. He previously was Minister of Economics, Industry and Digital Affairs under President François Hollande from 2014...
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