Crop protection products protect our crops against plant diseases and plagues, but remain dangerous substances, which can be harmful to humans, animals and the environment, if used excessively or wrongly. The European Union imposes the member states to pursue an active policy concerning sustainable use of crop protection products.

 - Federal Plan for the Reduction of Pesticides

Within the framework of the European directive 2009/128/EC, every member state must draw up a national action plan for sustainable use of crop protection products. In Belgium the three regions and the federal government each draw up their own action plan. All these plans are put together in the ‘National Plan of Action’ (NAPAN – ‘Nationaal ActiePlan d’Action’). A task force ensures that all actions are coordinated and followed up.

The federal section of the NAPAN is ‘the Federal Program for the Reduction of Pesticides’. This contains two specific actions to protect the bees against the risks of crop protection products.

First of all, in the coming years a monitoring is carried of the exposure of the bees to neonicotinoids. Secondly, indicators will be determined for the risks of crop protection products for the bees. This is necessary in order to be able to make a proper assessment of these problems. A possible indicator is for example the evolution of the sale of crop protection products, which may have an impact on the bees.

Evaluation and admission of crop protection products in Belgium

The evaluation of active ingredients for crop protection products is done at European level, but the admission of the crop protection products themselves by the member states. If a product is admitted in one of the member states, it must also be admitted into the other member states within the same zone in the EU (north, middle or south).

In 2012 the admission of crop protection products for professional users and for amateurs has been split, so that private persons can no longer purchase professional products. This should make the use of crop protection products even safer.

In addition, the FPS Health enables a sustainable crop protection amongst other things by providing admissions for crop protection products of natural origin, and by financial support of investigation into new products for crops, for which insufficient crop protection products have been admitted.

Finally, since quite some time, our country pays particular attention to the bees. E.g. already in 1995, the government published a brochure on the correct use of fenoxycar, an active substance which may have unfavourable effects on the development of bee brood, if used wrongly.

In 2013 the service Pesticides and Fertilizers of the FPS published an overview of all measures, which it has already taken in collaboration with the Recognition Committee for crop protection products for agricultural use, so as to limit the exposure of honey bees to crop protection products to a minimum.