Research Shows There Are Many Alternatives for Glyphosate and Other Chemicals in Agriculture





Agriculture can produce profitably without pesticides that demonstrably kill more insects than they are intended for. That is what nine scientists say in an overview study that appears today, Trouw reports.

They argue that there are sufficient environmentally friendly alternatives for so-called neonicotinoids, the 'bee venom'. Also for fipronil, the lice pesticide that was found in eggs in the Netherlands and in Belgium last year, in the opinion of the scientists, there are enough alternatives. Furthermore, they say that the use of agricultural poison does not by definition lead to better harvests and more profit.

Wild bees
Neonicotinoids and fipronil together are the best-selling pesticides worldwide. The researchers have looked at 200 studies that have been conducted since 2014 into their results.

The nerve toxin in these products is often already preventatively applied in the seeds of agricultural crops. The plant that grows from that seed is therefore toxic to many insects, including insects that are not harmful to the crops. Wild bees are a well-known example; these are of great importance for the fertilization of flowering plants.

Pesticides unnecessary
In the article, the scientists mention a number of alternatives to the use of agricultural poison, which they say are cheaper, just as effective and better for the environment: changing crops, developing crops that are more resistant to disease, biological control methods and nature-friendly insecticides.

Pesticides are often superfluous, they argue, because there are not enough pests to cause serious damage to crops. While the toxins do cause a lot of damage to the ecosystem, which is the basis for agriculture.

European ban
The European Union will soon decide on a total ban on neonicotinoids in outdoor crops. At least eleven countries are ahead. The position of the Netherlands is still unknown. De Bijenstichting started a petition to persuade Minister Schouten to vote in Brussels for a ban.

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