PRESS RELEASE | EFOW calls for the continued use of copper in viticulture, notably for the organic sector

Brussels, 22 May 2018

The use of copper compounds as a phytosanitary substance is currently being re-evaluated at the EU level. Sometime in June, the European Commission will make a proposal on the renewal or the prohibition of its homologation for the next 7 years; this proposal will be submitted to the vote of the Member States. Copper salts, a naturally occurring mineral, are the only fungicide product used for the treatment of organically grown vines that is effective against late blight and other diseases. Without a positive decision on its homologation, winemakers will have no tools for dealing with these diseases as of 1st February  2019. The consequences would be dramatic for the production of wines, especially organic wines, and producers would have no choice but to use synthetic products.

EFOW’s President, Mr. Bernard Farges, explains: “To date there is simply no alternative to copper. The sector is investing in research and development. Experiments are conducted with resistant vine grape varieties, but we will have answers only in the medium/long-term. Replacing copper salts, a natural substance, from one day to the other is simply not feasible. Public authorities must help us in our transition to a green viticulture and not push us towards the use of synthetic products, that would go against the goal sought by all. We very much hope that the European Commission and Member States will take all these elements into account in the decision-making process. The survival of a large part of the European viticulture, in particular the organic viticulture, is at stake”.

Next steps: On 25 May, the experts from the Member States will have an initial exchange of views with the European Commission on this subject, during the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Foodstuffs and Feed