May 2, 2018 / 11:55 AM / a year ago

Germany plans to toughen conditions for insecticide use

FILE PHOTO: German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner before the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany plans to make it more difficult for farmers to use agrochemicals that protect plants from insects in a bid to preserve biodiversity, an environment ministry document showed.

“Insect biomass has fallen by more than 75 percent in the last 27 years in Germany,” according to the paper seen by Reuters on Wednesday, saying the main factor was the disproportionate use of weed-killer and pesticide.

The ministry, led by the Social Democrats (SPD) who share power with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, also said it planned to increase the proportion of farmed land that would have to adhere to environmental stipulations.Conditions for fertiliser use should be extended, including making subsidies dependent on using insect-friendly chemicals, the ministry paper said.

The move to make it more difficult to get a permit to use agrochemicals follows plans drawn up by conservative Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner to limit the use of weed-killer glyphosate, made by Monsanto MON.N in agriculture.

Germany has also backed EU plans to ban neonicotinoids, insecticides that studies show can harm honey bees.

Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Edmund Blair

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