A roadmap for the reduction of use of copper in agriculture was issued by the French Ministry of Agriculture on 15 July in order to better coordinate actions and to ensure their coherence. It has been drafted by a working group involving the competent administrations and research and development actors. The main directions were presented during the Strategic Orientation Committee (COS) of the Ecophyto Plan on 10 April 2019.
The document recalls that the European Commission renewed the approval of copper on 27 November 2018 for a period of 7 years but restricted the use to applied amounts of 4 kg per hectare per year on average, giving the opportunity to the Member States to allow the application of a maximum application rate of 28 kg/ha over 7 years.
It is indicated that in France, ANSES will assess applications for the renewal of the approval of copper-based PPPs, taking into account the “maximum 28 kg/ha for 7 years” option, providing that the conditions of use are properly detailed in the applications and that data support the intended uses.
The roadmap also refers to the scientific opinion “Can we do without copper in organic farming?” published in January 2018 by INRA (French National Institute for Research in Agriculture), which provides a comprehensive and scientifically based overview of the uses and alternatives to copper available to farmers.
Finally, this document specifies that the copper dose reduction efforts should be strengthened, following 5 directions with short-term, middle term and long-term actions:
- Promotion of research, innovation and acquisition of knowledge on pathogens, impact of copper use, dose reduction and development of alternatives
- Information and favoring good practice and use of already existing alternatives to copper
- Adaptation of the regulation in order to favor the development of alternatives
- Help and training of farmers to the change of practices
- Cooperation with Europe, especially Germany, which is already engaged in a copper reduction of use process
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