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Will France be capable to proceed exporting its wheat to Africa?

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Will France nonetheless be capable to export cereals to Africa on April 25? The federal government desires to be reassuring, whereas producers and merchants worry that they may not be capable to use an insecticide (phosphine) in direct contact with the grains, which might shut the door to their historic prospects.

“There may be nothing to fret about for our exports,” French International Commerce Minister Olivier Becht mentioned on Tuesday, whereas his Agriculture counterpart, Marc Fesneau, underlined the main function that France would proceed. to face for international “meals safety”.

The federal government was questioned by a number of deputies on the implications of a choice by the French Well being Safety Company (Anses), relationship from October 2022, which doesn’t authorize, from April 25, the usage of PH3 insecticide (or phosphine ) within the fumigation of the holds of ships solely provided that it isn’t “in direct contact with cereals”.

“If no resolution is taken, on April 25, we’ll not be capable to export to international locations equivalent to Togo, Cameroon, Algeria, or Egypt, which require of their specs fumigation in direct contact with grains,” Eric Thirouin, president of the Affiliation of French Grain Producers (AGPB), instructed AFP.

Meals Security

“We’re up towards the wall. Belgium, Germany, and all the opposite European international locations have reauthorized the usage of direct fumigation, besides France. Which means that the 4th largest wheat exporter on the earth could not be capable to ship to its prospects. , which might have a severe affect on meals safety, and on the commerce stability of France” the place cereals weighed “11.5 billion euros” in 2022, he underlined.

Effectively conscious of the problems, the federal government defined that it was looking for a “authorized” resolution to bypass this constraint. “France will proceed to export cereals. It does so inside the framework of European regulation which permits derogation from the ban (…) on the request of importing international locations”, indicated Marc Fesneau.

“There are nonetheless authorized clarifications to be made, however I can assure you that by April 25, choices might be made in order that exports can proceed,” mentioned Olivier Becht.


Till now, insecticide tablets have been positioned instantly on grain shipments. Though it’s technically doable to carry out the fumigation not directly by inserting the tablets in a field or pierced pocket, this course of is refused by sure third international locations, which think about that they don’t have the capability to reprocess packaging thought-about to be poisonous waste.

For Synacomex, the exporters’ union, it was ANSES’s resolution that induced this impasse, as a result of the company “restricted” the advertising authorization (MA) requested by the Dutch firm UPL Holdings Coöperatief UA which markets PH3.

Contacted by AFP, ANSES mentioned it had solely responded to the file despatched by the corporate UPL.

“We have now not banned phosphine (a gasoline that may be harmful for people within the occasion of inhalation of large doses, editor’s notice). We have now deemed the information submitted by UPL to be compliant. However all of the checks on the residues ( of insecticide) despatched by the applicant associated to a protocol the place the product is rarely put instantly into the grain. We have now subsequently solely validated these protocols, “ mentioned Charlotte Grastilleur, deputy common supervisor of the pole, to AFP. ANSES-regulated merchandise.

European regulation

“On February 21, the corporate UPL even defined to us that it was not claiming the use on the coronary heart of the grain (direct fumigation, editor’s notice) as a result of its outcomes of analyzes regarding (pesticide) residues could be non-compliant. European laws,” she added.

ANSES explains that it may possibly solely evaluation its resolution within the occasion of “new scientific truth”, which isn’t the case right here.

On this state of affairs, estimates ANSES, one of many avenues could be to depend on European regulation which authorizes exceeding most residue limits in sure circumstances for export, independently of the MAs issued on the nationwide degree.