Removing glyphosate will be expensive, warns a parliamentary report


A farmer spreads glyphosate in his field in the Hauts-de-France. – PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

The planned glyphosate removal schedule will be difficult to maintain everywhere in the current state of knowledge, and will be expensive for farmers, says a parliamentary report asking the state to quickly specify which crops will "benefit from a derogation "Of use in 2021.

The parliamentary mission charged to evaluate the plan of exit of glyphosate, of which the AFP obtained a copy of the report before its presentation to the press envisaged Wednesday, judges "unaware of waiting until December 31, 2020" to know "what cultural situations Will have to stop using the herbicide on January 1, 2021 and those who will be able to benefit from a delay.

"Crucial that the government clarifies its message"

France undertook to dispense with this controversial herbicide on 1 January 2021 in its main uses and on 1 January 2023 for all its uses.

The "joint information mission on the follow-up of the exit strategy of the glyphosate", led by the deputies Jean-Luc Fugit (LREM) and Jean-Baptiste Moreau (LREM), asks that the INRA and the agricultural technical institutes specify "At the latest in June 2020" situations "that can not withstand glyphosate shutdown on 1 January 2021 without threatening the survival of the farm or its environment"

"It is crucial that the government clarify its message to farmers, first and foremost with respect to those who will be subject to the glyphosate ban as of January 1, 2021," the report added, noting that Will have a "substantial cost".

"Three or four times more fuel"

Labor costs (€ 12.7 million overtime), fuel consumption multiplied by three or four (€ 87 million), investment in new equipment and growth in other chemicals The removal of this cheap herbicide will increase farm costs by between 50 and 150 euros per hectare, according to the report.

The costs of producing wheat would increase by 10 euros per tonne. Alternative weed control techniques (additional tractor and machine runs) would also emit an additional 226,000 tonnes of CO2, according to the general association of AGPB grain producers cited in the report.

It's not always easy to do without glyphosate

Members point to a number of cases where the only alternative to glyphosate is to destroy weeds by hand, which they call "dead end" as the investment in labor would be untenable in terms of profitability.

The most "sensitive" case concerns farms engaged in soil conservation agriculture without tillage.

This type of agriculture, encouraged by many agronomists and climate specialists, aims to combat erosion and degradation of bare soil while increasing the duration of plant cover, thereby absorbing more carbon from the soil. atmosphere.

In the absence of plowing, a technique that removes weeds by inverting the soil, it requires the occasional use of a herbicide each fall to clean the plots before sowing.

The report also indicates sloping crops (vines, etc.) that are difficult to mechanically cultivate, so-called "intermediate zones" crops grown on soils that are difficult to work with and are not very productive. According to the Arvalis technical institute, quoted in the report, "the ban on glyphosate would destabilize these farms to the point of threatening their survival".

The problem also of seed production

Third impasse: crops intended for specific markets that impose very restrictive specifications, such as seed production, which uses 8 tons of glyphosate per year for 380,000 hectares in France, flax production, of which France is the world's largest producer, and finally that of fresh vegetables and canned grown in the field (203,560 hectares) that can not afford the slightest toxic datura, a plant that grows near the fields and can contaminate the harvest.

Finally, the report proposes the creation of a "national platform for the registration of plant protection products" to centralize both the purchase of pesticides and their use.



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