The announcement should reassure beet growers, not opponents of pesticides. The Minister Delegate to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, announced on Friday April 5 that she would grant an exemption to beet growers “to protect their crops”. They are authorized to no longer use an insecticide to combat aphids responsible for yellows disease, which is very damaging to sugar production.

“This year, beet growers will now be able to make up to five passes of Movento” instead of “two passes today,” declared Ms. Pannier-Runacher, interviewed on the France Bleu Nord channel.

Due to a mild winter, the risk of beet yellows – caused by aphid bites – is presented as very high. Producers, mainly located in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais, currently in the middle of the planting season, were worried. They will now be able to “first make three passes [of Movento] and, if the aphid is still present, two additional ones,” said Ms. Pannier-Runacher. The use of Movento insecticide can be done in addition to the spreading of another insecticide, Teppeki.

The minister defended herself from making a compromise on public health, judging that pesticides which had a “proven impact on public health” were already banned. Since 2023, neonicotinoids, bee-killing pesticides, also used to combat beet yellows, have been banned in France. A ban decided at European level, which had aroused the anger of farmers for lack of alternative solutions.