Read our event report: Agroecological Farm Visit with policy makers: How can agroecology help reduce pesticides use and improve farm viability and resilience?

On 21 March 2023, Agroecology Europe organised an agroecological farm visit for Members of the European Parliament and their team members of the AGRI and ENVI Committees of different political groups including the Renew Group, the EPP Group and the Greens.

In the fields of the Warelles Farm in Petit-Enghien, thirty participants had the opportunity to exchange with the farmer Etienne Allard, who runs a family farm of 120 ha of arable crops with 20 ha of grassland and 150 dairy cows. Participants discovered how to drastically reduce the use of pesticides, restore soil health while improving the economic viability of his farm.

Pesticide reduction has been on the EU agenda with the SUD directive in 2009, but has failed to achieve its reduction target. Thus, the SUR, currently under discussion, represents a major opportunity to move towards greater environmental, but also social and economic sustainability for European agricultural and food systems.

The redesign of farming systems according to agroecology principles is the way forward to to reduce the risks and uses of pesticides by 2030 as stated in the Farm to Fork Strategy. This is what Etienne Allard has witnessed and put in place on the farm.

Sarah Wiener MEP (Greens/EFA), rapporteur for the ENVI committee on SUR and co-host of the visit, recalled that we need sustainable solutions.

Farmer and cattle breeder for 25 years, Etienne Allard, has been committed for more than 10 years to reducing the use of synthetic inputs, restoring soil health and developing greater autonomy and resilience on his family farm La Ferme de Warelles.