Sacrebleu! French Artichoke Production Threatened!

A lot can be learned about the benefits of pesticides when key pesticides are no longer available for use. In 2007, the only herbicide effective on broadleaf weeds in artichoke fields was canceled in France. A recent report describes the consequences…

“To illustrate the economic damage caused by the lack of plant protection products for weed control in artichoke production in France, we took the specific case study of a farm in the Brittany region. The direct cost and indirect impact of the implementation of an alternative weed control solution, i.e. mechanical weed control accompanied by a manual hoeing, is summarized.”

“At farm level, the lack of registered plant protection products for weed control of artichoke caused a decrease in the net margin of 1,020 €/ha for a culture of artichoke for 3 years. As in France artichokes are grown on 9,000 ha, at the scale of the total artichoke production sector, the direct loss of profit amounts to slightly less than 10,000,000 €. In the long term, farms may not be economically viable because the net margin is too low (1,979 €/ha for 3 years, or 660 €/ha for one year) to allow profitable production from one year to another. Therefore, some farms may disappear due to the lack of profitability. This will affect employment in production, but also in all the downstream activities (packaging, marketing, shipping…).”

“For example, in northern Brittany, 900 growers produce artichoke as principal crop. Most of these producers employ the equivalent of 2.7 FTE (Full Time Equivalent). The absence of chemical herbicides allowed on artichoke therefore threatens the equivalent of 2,430 FTE in this region, without counting jobs indirectly linked to production. Moreover, a majority of producers performs crop rotation associating artichokes to cauliflowers. The difficulty of growing artichoke crops will affect the production of cauliflower. The entire economy of this vegetable producing area could be compromised.”

Publication: Study on the Establishment of a European Fund for Minor Uses in the Field of Plant Protection Products. June 2011.
Project Leader: ARCADIA International

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