“The consequences will be dramatic,” warn farmers willing to stand up to the government. Not many Tuesdays, but determined to be heard, breeders, horticulturists, farmers, arborists and even a beekeeper, had an appointment in front of the Lyon laboratory of the National Agency for Food Safety (Anses).
Of the Pollinator Plan, which will soon be the object of public consultation, they would spray the 4th component. “It establishes the prohibition of the use of phytosanitary products if there are flowers in the orchards. With some completely fantastic exceptions, including the ability to trade at night within a 3 hour window. However, night work is particularly dangerous. There is even more risk of overturning… etc ”, details a union member.
As a prescribing agency, ANSES and its regional office are directly in the crosshairs. “They are the ones who validate,” shows a protester in a beret with a nod. In fact, the Pollinator Plan is based on a 2018 ANSES recommendation aimed at protecting honey bees and wild pollinating insects.
“We also depend on Europe. However, for neonicotinoids, our German colleagues, for example, have different exemptions than ours, ”explains one farmer. “The REACh program seeks to assess the effects of chemicals on health and the environment, but it has not finished its work. What we want, if they take away our products, is for them to give us more. We want alternatives so that researchers have to find them. But not in 3 or 8 years, as one understands it ”, defends another.
Anger and a lot of worry
“There is anger and a lot of concern. Farmers have a nutritional role. It is a strategic sector. Macron talks about food sovereignty, but he goes through the defense of our productions with effective products ”, underlines Bernard Lannes, national president of the Rural Coordination, present this Tuesday in Lyon.
Jérémy Béchet-Barbat, beekeeper, is also there, “in solidarity with agricultural schools, unfortunately less and less numerous”. “We have to stick together. Phytosanitary products only represent 5% of the mortality of bees, while a mite such as varroa represents 20 to 30% of the mortality in our hives ”, argues this professional from Haute Savoie.