Did France ban neonicotinoids?
Well, there is a ban intended to take effect in 2020, but the situation is actually a little more complicated than that.
The French government promised a total ban of all neonicotinoids in France, which goes further than the earlier EU restrictions to the use of 3 neonicotinoids and Fipronil.
However, French beekeepers are still very worried about their bees. Here are the problems:
“The pesticide industry is trying to hide the reality behind two new chemicals that are similar to the notorious group of neonicotinoids linked to massive bee death all over the world. Their properties clearly show that they should be classified as neonicotinoids”.
They note that as part of the regulatory process, the manufacturers get to classify their own toxins.
"The situation of bees and beekeeping is a matter of grave concern," says Henri Clément, the spokesman of UNAF, the National Union of French beekeeping.
"We have huge mortality rates among our bee colonies: we have gone from 5% of colony deaths per year, to more than 30% annually. How could any other agricultural sector possibly accept the loss of 30% of its livestock annually?"
Of course, the decline in colony numbers has had an impact on honey production.
The chart below provides a visual graphic of honey production levels since neonics were introduced in 1994, upto 1999.
However, more recent figures are now available, which tell us more about the decrease in honey production.
In 1989, honey production exceeded 20,000 kgs. In 2014, it fell below 10,000 kgs, thus production halved in just 15 years.
So yes, the fact that beekeepers will have to wait until 2020 for the complete ban on neonics, and the fact that other ghastly toxins are already on their way to replace them, will provide little comfort.
.....and they do it with full co-operation from governments. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a similar
meaningless gesture ban on neonics from the EU in due course - i.e. a total ban on neonics, but not the newly approved poisons. For this reason, our actions need to: