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Menu logo Cultiver proteger autrement mariane_inrae_ppr_cpa_80

Growing and Protecting crops Differently

3 questions for Florence Jacquet, scientific director of France’s ‘Cultiver Protéger Autrement’ (Growing and protecting crops differently) national priority research programme

Florence Jacquet Directrice de recherche Inrae et directrice scientifique du PPR CPA
© INRAE
France’s ‘Cultiver Protéger Autrement’ (Growing and protecting crops differently) national priority research programme has been launched with the aim of finding new strategies that offer an alternative to pesticides. Research is key to the programme’s success and is being employed with a global vision. All scientific frontiers will be explored in order to gain new knowledge and strengthen society’s efforts to dispense with pesticides

Florence Jacquet, why launch this new research programme?

Pesticide use has become a major societal concern: the presence of residues, pollution of water and air etc. Pesticide damage to health and the environment generates costs: water pollution, biodiversity loss, medical treatment of the various pathologies linked to pesticides etc. It’s why policies aimed at containing pesticide use have been gaining momentum since the 1990s.
As researchers, we therefore have the responsibility of offering alternative solutions to farmers and, in particular, new cultural practices which intensively mobilise agronomic knowledge and limit the recourse to ‘chemistry’.

Do scientists think we can dispense with pesticides?

Pesticides have made it possible to increase production, reduce production costs and risk, and there has been a drop in the price of agricultural and food products. Consumers are spending increasingly less of their income on food.
But now the context is changing and our aim is to find new strategies as an alternative to pesticides, exploring and combining all possible levers.
First of all, everything must be done to reduce pest pressure. We must first improve epidemiology systems and find new prophylaxis solutions.
We also need to make agroecology more affordable and concrete so that we have another way to control pests.
Furthermore, we must not forget that we are tackling an issue that involves all of society. There is a need to implement actions at all levels in order to pave the way to a more sustainable system for all: incentivising public policies and the coordination of actors, from field to plate.

What is so original about the programme?

To move forward, we have set an ambitious goal for research: zero pesticides. We will need to explore innovative avenues, invest over the long term and move towards breaking the frontiers of science. We need to improve our research strategies by building multidisciplinary projects to address all facets of the problem, including the social and economic aspects. We are not alone in this as we will be working closely with European colleagues who have the same objectives.

> Contact : Florence Jacquet, Directrice de recherche INRAE et directrice scientifique du PPR CPA : ppr-cpa@inrae.fr