Paris (AFP)

The State will impose "no treatment zones", where the application of plant protection products on crops will be prohibited, if local residents, elected officials and farmers can not agree to jointly establish territorial "charters" spreading, warned the Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume Thursday.

"We set up departmental charters, territorial charters in which residents, farmers, elected officials, under the authority of the prefect, must agree to the areas of spreading.If they do not arrive to agree, then we will put in place what are called non-treatment areas.The Council of State asked us, "said the minister on CNews Thursday morning.

The minister did not say what the time limits were for this local democracy exercise.

"If at the end of a field, there is a wall or a hedge, there is no problem to continue to spread, even if (in the end) we want to release pesticides" he said, by mentioning, moreover, very vaguely, the possibility of a zone of "two" to "five" meters around houses.

These remarks respond to the lively debate underway in France on the subject. The mayor of Langouët (Ille-et-Vilaine), who attempted to issue a decree prohibiting the use of pesticides within 150 meters of any construction, was retaliated by administrative justice. Other local elected officials try to regulate the conditions of use of these products.

After the president Emmanuel Macron who declared to support it "in his intentions", the minister of the ecological transition Élisabeth Borne affirmed Tuesday to share "totally the concern of the mayor of Langouët" and announced that a project of regulation was under study to establish a "minimum area between spreading and dwellings".

The main agricultural union FNSEA has pronounced itself for solutions "on a case by case" rather than a strict delimitation imposed by the State, which would reduce the useful agricultural area and thus the income of French farmers, already quite weakened .

"Most of the time it is not agriculture, arboriculture, viticulture that has approached the villages, it is the housing estates that have grown and have become established among the fields" noted M . Guillaume.

The minister also hailed the multiplication of farm conversions in organic farming: "6,000 more farmers this year, we are at 7.5% of the organic agricultural area," he said, recalling the goal of 15%. "We will get there".

© 2019 AFP