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  • VIEWPOINT OF PARTNERS

    -Tounis Aoudjali-Tahir \ Agricultural secondary school in Brie-Comte-Robert
    "Our farm is one of first units to have committed to playing a leading role in generalising innovative cropping systems within the Ecophyto plan..."

    -Christophe Chassande \ Agriculture ministry

    "The creation of the farm network fits in with the overall goal of the Ecophyto plan. Its purpose is to make use of every possibility offered by cropping systems to meet that goal and to test the resulting solutions under real production conditions..."

Reduce the use of pesticides

Efforts to generalise farming systems employing crops requiring small quantities of pesticides are a major element in the Ecophyto 2018 plan, funded in part by Onema. To cut the use of phytosanitary products in half by 2018, a number of initiatives have been set up to develop and transfer solutions to replace farming practices using chemical products to protect crops.

After a test phase in 2010, a national network was established in February 2011 to evaluate on real farms a number of crop systems requiring less pesticides and then share the knowledge gained with the agricultural profession. Over 2011, almost 1 200 farms in continental France and overseas joined the network, of which half are active in large-scale and mixed-crop/livestock farming. During the first year, each farmer diagnosed his farming practices and the various phytosanitary treatments involved in the monitored cropping systems. The 963 reports produced in 2011 served to draw up an initial inventory of the diverse cropping systems tested in the network of farms.

Approximately 20 experimental sites were also selected in 2011 to develop and test cropping systems and practices requiring smaller quantities of pesticides and that will later be used by the farms in the network.

Modify the work habits of future farmers

Agricultural schools have also taken up the Ecophyto plan. “Frontrunner” schools now teach future farmers techniques to reduce the use of pesticides and present innovative cropping systems. Launched in 2009, this initiative immediately interested 24 public agricultural schools. Then in 2010 and 2011, another 12 schools and 5 farms joined the group, which now represents almost 200 teachers and 5 to 10 thousand students and trainees. The schools are spread throughout France, including four overseas departments, and are active mainly in technical agricultural training and higher agricultural studies. These combined efforts, agronomic and teaching, have already produced results, notably in wine growing with a 50% drop in pesticide use on four sites.

These two approaches with their different methods may be combined. At the end of 2011, over 20 sites were participating in both the farm network and the group of agricultural schools.