Here, I relate what the journalist said in his article “Les insecticides néonicotinoïdes, des molécules à l’utilité contestable”. All quotes, originally in French, were translated by me.
A study published on February 25 in Environmental Science and Pollution Research reportedly observed that NNIs “have little or no use” through the review of 200 publications. (Furlan et al. 2018)
According to Jean-Marc Bonmatin, co-author of the work, the conclusion is that NNIs don’t increase agricultural yields. Consistent with a Center for Food Safety study published in March 2014 (Stevens, Sarah and Jenkins 2014), this finding was due to the systemic and preventive dimension of NNIs. The targeted pests were present on only a small part (4% in the example he takes) of the areas. In addition, their diffusion in the environment would encourage the emergence of resistance.
In addition, farmers could use alternatives “such as crop rotation, the use of biological control (recourse to natural predators of pests, etc.)”. An experiment carried out over 3 years and 50,000 hectares in Italia would have proved the effectiveness of a insurance funds as an alternative:
“The operators have come together, have built a common insurance fund that they provide to the tune of around 3.50 euros per hectare and per year,” explains Mr. Bonmatin. They thus save the cost of seed treatments, which amounts to around 40 euros per hectare, and are compensated if their harvest is destroyed by pests. “
Only half of the sums collected were redistributed this way. The reason why farmers buy unnecessary chemicals is structural:
“The reason is a structural conflict of interest: technical advice to farmers is provided by those who sell them the pesticide treatments,” Mr. Bonmatin summarizes. If this advice were provided by independent agronomists, the situation would be very different. “