France eases pesticide controls in concession to farmers

By Giorgio Leali, Victor Goury-Laffont | 02/21/2024 12:58 PM EST

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal also barred imports of food containing traces of thiacloprid, a pesticide banned in the EU.

Parked tractors during a demonstration of French farmers against agricultural policies in Marseille.

French farmers demonstrate against agricultural policies in Marseille by parking tractors. Clement Mahoudeau/AFP via Getty Images

PARIS — France will drop strict national controls on pesticide sales in favor of a more lax indicator used in the European Union, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced Wednesday in unveiling further measures to appease restive farmers.

In a second move, France will bar imports of food products containing traces of thiacloprid, a pesticide that is banned in the EU, to ensure that French farmers aren’t put at a disadvantage to foreign competitors, Attal said at a press conference.
press conference

The announcement comes after weeks of demonstrations in France and around Europe where angry farmers have protested against the EU’s green bureaucracy and competition from imports that aren’t subject to the same environmental standards.
around Europe


Abandoning the so-called NODU indicator — which uses sales data to calculate average pesticide applications across the country — has been a long-standing demand of French farmers. But this faces opposition from green groups, which have called it outrageous.