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Pathways for advancing pesticide policies


Numerous pesticide policies have been introduced to mitigate the risks of pesticide use, but most have not been successful in reaching usage reduction goals. Here, we name key challenges for the reduction of environmental and health risks from agricultural pesticide use and develop a framework for improving current policies. We demonstrate the need for policies to encompass all actors in the food value chain. By adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, we suggest ten key steps to achieve a reduction in pesticide risks. We highlight how new technologies and regulatory frameworks can be implemented and aligned with all actors in food value chains. Finally, we discuss major trade-offs and areas of tension with other agricultural policy goals and propose a holistic approach to advancing pesticide policies.

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Fig. 1: Interactions between food value chain actors and pesticide policies.
Fig. 2: A holistic approach to pesticide policies.


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We thank the research team of the Sinergia project CRSII5_193762 Evidence-based Transformation of Pesticide Governance, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, for conceptual support and intellectual inspiration. F.M.-L. was supported by the ANR project DECISIVE — Tracking degradation of soil pollutants with multi-elemental compound-specific isotope analysis (grant no. ANR-18-CE04-0004-02).

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N.M. and R.F. conceived of and led the manuscript writing and editing. The final manuscript was based on written input from all authors. All authors carefully revised the manuscript and approved the submission.

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Correspondence to Niklas Möhring or Robert Finger.

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Möhring, N., Ingold, K., Kudsk, P. et al. Pathways for advancing pesticide policies. Nat Food 1, 535–540 (2020).

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