Germany plans to toughen conditions for insecticide use

The Elbe River at Oberrathen, southeast of Dresden. (

Berlin | Reuters — Germany plans to make it more difficult for farmers to use crop insecticides in a bid to preserve biodiversity, an environment ministry document showed.

“Insect biomass has fallen by more than 75 per cent in the last 27 years in Germany,” according to the paper seen by Reuters on Wednesday, saying the main factor was the disproportionate use of herbicides and pesticides.

The ministry, led by the Social Democrats (SPD) who share power with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, also said it planned to increase the proportion of farmed land that would have to adhere to environmental stipulations.

Conditions for fertilizer use should be extended, including making subsidies dependent on using insect-friendly chemicals, the ministry paper said.

The move to make it more difficult to get a permit to use agrochemicals follows plans drawn up by conservative Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner to limit the use of glyphosate herbicide.

Germany has also backed EU plans to ban neonicotinoids, insecticides that studies show can harm honey bees.

— Reporting for Reuters by Hans-Edzard Busemann; writing by Madeline Chambers.

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