The French government is taking action to support its beet farmers and sugar industry following a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (CJEU) which excluded the use of neonicotinoids (NNIs) for seeds. As a result, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty held a meeting with the beet-sugar industry to present the principles of an action plan to ensure sufficient beet production and supply in the French sugar industry in 2023.
The plan’s first priority is to ensure equity for French producers by acting at the European level. Accordingly, the Minister has requested that the CJEU decision be applied equally to all EU countries to avoid any competitive distortions that could harm the French industry. Additionally, the Minister has asked for the triggering of a safeguard clause to prevent the use of neonicotinoids in imported products.
The second objective of the plan is to deploy measures to protect crops quickly. The government has worked with professionals to develop new technical approaches to protect beets based on advances from the national research and innovation plan (PNRI). These approaches will be made available to farmers through the beet technical institute (ITB) and can be used in the case of yellows this spring. Additionally, the industry and state are committed to deploying as many ambitious viral reservoir management measures as possible to minimize the risk of the reappearance of the disease.
The third pillar of the plan is the establishment of support for farmers in the event of yield losses due to yellows in 2023. The government is working to activate a European crisis measure and is in talks with the European Commission to build the scheme. A first working meeting will take place soon with the industry.