In gardens, on balconies, terraces or indoors, the greening of homes is progressing rapidly in France. As a result of ecological awareness and a new enthusiasm for nature, the renewed interest of the French in gardening has accelerated, particularly following the successive lockdowns. Last year, the market grew by about 10%, and even by 25% for seeds, a jump equivalent to five years of growth, according to a recent study1. However, this greening momentum is also accompanied by increased requirements for the origin of plants and the nature of protective products.
Since 1 January 2019, the application of the Labbé law has largely encouraged this approach by banning the use of conventional pesticides by private individuals. And, in fact, favoured the emergence of biocontrol. This approach, already well known to professionals, is based on the use of natural solutions to protect plants. “Biocontrol has the distinct feature of not aiming to completely eradicate pest or weed populations but rather to keep these pests below acceptable thresholds in order to have a minimal impact on crops,” explains Céline Barthet, President of IBMA France.
A cost-effective approach, not just in terms of price
There are four main categories of biocontrol products: macro-organisms, which against certain garden pests, such as ladybirds, which are fond of aphids; natural substances of animal, plant or mineral origin, such as sulphur, which help to protect crops from certain diseases; chemical mediators, mainly pheromones, which can inhibit the reproduction of pests; and micro-organisms, such as certain fungi and bacteria, which act as natural insecticides or fungicides.
In this last segment, Agrauxine acts as a benchmark with a wide range of biosolutions dedicated to plant production. In 2015, the company even set up its own 10,000 m² laboratory, the Plant Care Center, to develop ever more effective natural products. Because demand is rising sharply. Between 2018 and 2019, the overall market for biocontrol products increased by 8.5% in France, according to IBMA France. And, this progress is continuing, catalysed by the new national deployment strategy for biocontrol2 made public at the end of 2020.
On an international scale, growth will enable biocontrol to reach nearly 10% of the total market share of the global plant protection sector by 2025. This is the result of “societal demand and political will” combined with “completely competitive” prices, says the president of IBMA France…
However, “Not all biocontrol products are direct substitutes for conventional ones,” emphasises Céline Barthet. “Biocontrol is not an end in itself”, she explains, but the starting point for a different approach to gardening. It is about rethinking its uses by combining natural products with environmentally friendly techniques and methods. “Just like humans, a well-nourished plant, with no deficiencies, will resist aggression better,” she concludes.
- The 12 months that transformed the market; online at https://www.lesechos-etudes.fr/news/2021/04/27/ces-12-mois-qui-ont-transforme-le-marche-du-jardin/
- National Biocontrol Deployment Strategy; online at https://agriculture.gouv.fr/strategie-nationale-de-deploiement-du-biocontrole