towards a new waiver for neonicotinoids in 2023?

The Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau said on Thursday December 8 that he hoped for an extension for 2023 of the derogation allowing beet growers to use neonicotinoids, insecticides harmful to bees and banned in France since 2018.

At the end of 2020, Parliament authorized their temporary return under conditions to support the sugar beet sector, weakened by the proliferation of aphids vectors of jaundice. The law specified that derogations could be granted at most until July 2023, only for beet seeds and with compulsory renewal each year.

Union and ministry for an extension

In a video shown during the General Assembly of the General Confederation of Beet Growers (CGB) on Thursday, Marc Fesneau said that while waiting for alternatives to these insecticides, the ” first stage “ consisted of “extend the waiver” for the sowing of the year 2023.

“A third (derogation, editor’s note) is coming – in any case I hope and I think it will be useful, to be able to derogate and fight effectively against jaundice while waiting for alternative solutions”said the minister.

The president of the union of beet growers, Franck Sander, also pleaded for a new derogation, which will have to be the subject of a favorable opinion from the Neonicotinoid Supervisory Board before the signing of a decree by the government in February. .

Exemptions exist elsewhere in Europe

Alternatives to seeds coated with neonicotinoids, substances that contribute to the massive decline of bee colonies, have been being tested since 2020. Franck Sander pointed out that “jaundice was present in all beet growing regions” in 2022, and that “Neonicotinoid protection was effective”.

“To date, the alternatives that are emerging have not demonstrated sufficient effectiveness (tolerant varieties, pheromones, etc.)”he said, adding that there was no “Sufficient guarantees to say that we will be able to do without neonicotinoids after 2023” at this stage.

The European Union has also banned since 2018 the use in open fields, for all crops, of three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid). However, 11 of its Member States have adopted “emergency permits” to cope with the fall in their yields, including France. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had given the green light, for lack of an available alternative.


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