Information on alternatives to pesticides is a key issue to the problematic of pesticides prohibition by national or European authorities. In the neonicotinoids debate, pesticides industry and industrial farmers claim no alternatives exist to neonicotinoids. The reality is different.
In 2008, when Italy discussed a possible banning of the use of seed coating on maize because of the spectacular honeybee colony losses, the industry made an impressive media campaign on the lack of alternatives to fight the Western Corn Rootworm and the economic damages such a decision would make: tens of millions of euros for farmers. After 4 years of maize harvest without neonicotinoids, no dropdown in maize production could be observed and an ancestral, simple and free technique replaced costly neonicotinoids: crop rotation. Such a technique can efficiently replace neonicotinoids for many plant predators.
When EFSA published reports highly critical to 3 neonicotinoids in January 2013, the European Commission proposed Member States to partially and temporarily ban these substances. The industry once again made a furious campaign based on fear: loss of productivity, no alternatives, hunger in the world…
Many alternatives to neonicotinoids exist but their spreading among the agricultural world is limited. PAN Europe is thus willing to make them public and diffuse the information to decision-makers and farmers.
In order to increase knowledge on alternatives to neonicotinoids, PAN Europe, the European Beekeeping Coordination, the European Greens and Slow Food have organized a conference in March 2013 in the European Parliament on Pollinator friendly farming and alternatives to neonicotinoids.
Our NGO is currently working on a comprehensive report on alternatives to all neonicotinoids for many crops.
In order to contribute to the current debate on the feasibility of farming without neonicotinoids, PAN Europe has published a non-comprehensive list of Chemical and non-chemical alternatives to neonicotinoids.