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Greek Farmers Resist Plan to Control Use of Pesticides on Crops

February 19, 2023

Greece is noted for its locally-grown produce but farmers aren’t happy with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program they’ve been fighting back for a decade, unhappy with targets set by the European Union to reduce pesticide use.

IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on the long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques applied in order of hierarchy to minimize chemical protections, said EURACTIV in a report on resistance in Greece.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/eu-targets-blamed-for-stalling-pest-management-progress-in-greece/
The system is a core part of Greece’s 2020 National Action Plan for Pesticides, which stresses that it plays a vital role in the country’s environmental and climate action, the site said.

An unnamed representative of the agricultural association of Paggaio, which works in the region of Kavala in northern Greece said the measures have added to the success of IPM in the country.

“Integrated pest management solved many problems in the crops and had very satisfactory results,” the representative told the site, adding that farmers generally were satisfied as long as it as applied to the needs of Greek soils.

But pushback remains and Minister of Rural Development and Food Georgios Georgantas said in a Parliament debate that Greece’s climate goals are tied to European Green Deal targets and Greece’s aim to cut use of pesticides and fertilizers 50 percent by 2030.

Because of the national incorporation of European targets, the list of pesticides allowed for use is constantly being updated which means those essential for IPM are replaced by biological pesticides or.

The alternatives include biological pesticides made from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals, which are playing an increasing role in agriculture, and not relying on chemicals.

The Greek farmer representative told the site that it’s currently impossible to manage pests effectively with the biological tools currently on offer, often resulting in a loss of yields and the cost of pesticides has risen 50 percent in three years.

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