As part of the government’s plan to withdraw glyphosate in France, ANSES, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Health Safety has undertaken an assessment of non-chemical alternatives to this herbicide.
Its results were published on 9 October 2020.
The use of glyphosate is now limited to situations where there is no short-term substitute for this substance. These restrictions are now taken into account by the Agency when granting marketing authorisations for products containing glyphosate.
In November 2018, ANSES undertook an assessment of non-chemical alternatives to glyphosate.
The objective was to determine the uses for which this substance could be substituted by non-chemical alternatives and to identify standoff situations where suitable alternatives are currently not available.
The assessment referred to in Article 50(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, which states that a comparative assessment of a plant protection product may be carried out “if non-chemical control or prevention exists for the same use and is generally used in that Member State. “
The evaluation focused on four main areas of use:
- fruit trees,
- arable crops,
ANSES worked to identify the practical or economic disadvantages of alternatives to glyphosate, with the help of three reports produced by INRAE.
ANSES results on alternatives to glyphosate
- Prohibition of the use of glyphosate between rows: the alternative is to grow grass or carry out mechanical weeding;
- Its use is authorised in situations where mechanical weeding is not possible: steeply sloping or terraced, stony vineyards, rootstock nurseries;
- Maximum authorised annual rate limited to 450 g of glyphosate per hectare, with applications limited to 20% of the lot area, i.e. a reduction of 80% compared to the maximum rate currently authorised.
For fruit trees:
- Prohibition of the use of glyphosate between rows of fruit trees: the alternative is to grow grass or carry out mechanical weeding;
- Its use is authorised in situations where mechanical weeding is not possible: mechanical harvesting of fruits on the ground (nuts, cider apples, etc.) or bushy crops (hazelnuts, small fruits);
- Maximum authorised annual rate limited to 900 g of glyphosate per hectare, with applications limited to 40% of the lot area, i.e. a 60% reduction compared to the maximum rate currently authorised.
For arable crops (cereals, rape, sunflower, etc.):
- Prohibition of the use of glyphosate when the plot has been ploughed between two crops (with some specific exceptions);
- Its use is authorised in regulated compulsory control situations;
- Maximum authorised annual rate limited to 1080 g per hectare, i.e. a 60% reduction compared to the maximum rate currently authorised.
- Prohibition to use glyphosate for killing tree stumps: alternative non-chemical methods must be used;
- Its use is authorised for forest maintenance only during the stand set-up period;
- Its authorization is maintained for forest nurseries and seed orchards (orchards used to produce seed for reforestation).
Glyphosate: Non agricultural uses
The various uses of glyphosate in non-agricultural areas (industrial sites, military sites, railways, motorways, airports, electricity grid, conservation of historical monuments, etc.) cannot be completely replaced by non-chemical alternatives without major consequences, particularly for the safety of operators and users of these services.
Reducing the use of glyphosate in these different situations cannot therefore be addressed by a restriction set out in marketing authorisations, but must be considered as part of a change in pest control practices.
Conclusions that now apply to each product placed on the market
The conclusions of this comparative assessment are now being taken into account by ANSES when renewing or granting marketing authorisations (MA) for products containing glyphosate.
As part of the ongoing review of marketing authorisation applications, ANSES announced on 30 September 2020 to marketing authorisation holders the renewal of the authorisation for three products and two new marketing authorisations, with uses limited to the conditions identified by the comparative assessment.
Four decisions to revoke or refuse marketing authorisations were also notified.
For products for which the MA has been renewed, the use restrictions will be implemented within six months.
These restrictions on conditions of use and tariffs per hectare will help to reduce the quantities of glyphosate used in France since 2021.