Are Farm to fork strategy goals reasonable and achievable? State of the art of Península de Setubal’s winegrowers
The European Union’s “farm to fork” strategy sets out several objectives to be achieved by farmers, who, among others, relate to increasing biodiversity, protecting soils and reducing the use of pesticides. At a time when the amendments to the national plans of Sustainable Use of pesticides are being discussed, it is important to understand what the Setúbal Peninsula region status is. Today, the main challenges for farmers are the impact of pesticides on public health, environmental protection, waste reduction, bees and non-target organisms’ protection, the removal of many active ingredients and climate change. Faced with these challenges, the use of pesticides in 235 winegrowers in the Palmela region was evaluated between 2016 and 2021. To support some of the answers, a socio-economic survey was also carried out. The data analyzed included the number of treatments, the dosages used, compliance with the pre-harvest interval, the reason why winegrowers performed phytosanitary treatment and how they chose a pesticide. For each year, it was found that, on average, farmers spray seven times, although the trend was to decrease. The most used pesticides belong to groups 3 (Triazol), M02 (Inorganic) and M04 + 4 (Ftalimidas + Phenyl Amids), according to the FRAC Codes. Regardless of the climatic conditions and the pressure of the disease in the vineyard, winegrowers sprayed every 14 days. These data were also related to climatic conditions, the existence of technical assistance and socio-economic data.
In addition to the analysis of the records and the interpretation of their relationship with the other data referred to above, residue analyses were carried out at the entrance of the grapes into the winery to assess whether the MRL was exceeded and whether were not authorized pesticides were used in the vine. This procedure was repeated in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The discussion around waste has been very intense in civil society. If, on the one hand, pesticides are indispensable to agricultural production, it is also true that their use must always take into account food security and environmental protection. It is important that the message is clear, transparent and assertive and that the consumer is also interested, critical and understandable. The second reason for the analysis of waste is related to the withdrawal of active substances and the existence of alternatives for farmers. In field trials, it has been noticed that the so-called “biological alternatives” are sufficient in situations of low/medium pressure of disease, but inefficient in medium/high pressure situations. By analysing data from plant protection records and waste analysis, it was concluded that fear of diseases and pests and “empirical experience” sometimes go beyond knowledge and technology. In addition, the weak valorisation of grapes and discouragement with the implementation of some poorly reported strategies are factors that fuel the concern about the difficulty in achieving the goals.
Issue: GiESCO 2023