Aldi US has just sent a strong signal to the whole market. From 1st January 2017, the US branch of the German discounter (more than 1 500 points of sale in the United States, growing steeply) is set to banish from its shelves products which have been treated by the following eight insecticides: Thiametoxam, Chlorpyrifos, Clothianidin, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Fipronil, Imidacloprid, Sulfoxaflor. They are all used or potentially usable against banana plant pests, such as the weevil and thrips for the most common applications, but also against scale insects, defoliating caterpillars or aphids. Some of these pesticides are used in particular in dollar zone production systems, but also in other production zones (excluding the French West Indies). At least three lessons can be drawn from this declaration:
- No doubt this announcement will create ripples and push other distributors, not only in the US, to take a position and adopt equivalent measures.
- It is a strong signal aimed at producers to effect radical changes to their production systems. There are tried-and-tested solutions in the FWI and elsewhere, such as pheromone traps against weevils or early sheathing of clusters against thrips. It is a pity that it has taken such abrupt commercial disruption to see them deployed on plantations.
- Finally, it is commercial validation of the organic strategy that Europe wants to promote, especially in the forthcoming version of CAP.
As we know, innovation by disruption is the driving force of change in the agricultural or industrial sectors. This new episode will shift the lines and push producers to improve the environmental and social quality of their value chain. While the distribution sector plays its role as prescriber to perfection, it must also go beyond this censorship role and support the producers on the path to sustainability. Wielding the stick but also the carrot are both parts of the same equation. The distribution sector must not just distance itself, it must also participate and even lead the production systems revolution.
Reproduced from FruiTrop
Sources: organicauthority.com, CIRAD