INTERNATIONAL -- Europe has delayed a decision again on whether to phase-out glyphosate herbicide, widely used in Australia under the brand name Roundup as a weed killer.
Also read, FDA Resumes Testing For Glyphosate In The U.S. Food Supply.
It has been a rocky ride for farmers relying on glyphosate due to the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declaring it's "probably carcinogenic" in 2015.
But the EU food safety regulator ruled that same year that it was safe, and in March 2017 the European chemical regulator ruled that glyphosate was neither a carcinogen nor a mutagen.
This week's failure to reach a consensus on extending the license for the widely used herbicide came after members of the EU Parliament voted for a phase-out over five years.
French farmers have told the ABC that billions of dollars in production are at risk and glyphosate is essential to building carbon in soil and conservation farming.
Another vote is expected within the next two months.
Greenpeace, NGOs supporting organics and consumer groups have delighted in the success of their campaign against the herbicide developed by Monsanto over 40 years ago.
Activists handed the EU a petition with 1.3 million signatures calling for the ban, pressuring the European Commission not to renew the licence for a further 10 years.
Farmers relieved for now
UK and French farmers worry that banning glyphosate will remove an important tool in conservation farming, using minimum tillage and building carbon in soils.
Advice from rural environmental consultancy ADAS stated glyphosate adds $1 billion in value to UK farm production with increased crop yields and pastures.
In Germany, farmers have campaigned to keep the herbicide, using roadside signs declaring "harvests in danger".
They project that wheat yields would fall by 57 per cent and potatoes would fall by 40 per cent.
Australia's farm group CropLife said glyphosate has been in use for 40 years in Australia and around the world and is assessed safe by Australian, US, European and Canadian chemical and food regulators.
"If the EU were to make such a ludicrous decision banning their own farmers use of glyphosate, then not only would it destroy agricultural productivity in Europe but it would cause a significant trading problem for Australia and all its trading partners [including the] US, Canada," said Matthew Cossey, chief executive officer for CropLife Australia.
French farmer union representative and Normandy farmer Arnold Puech D'Alissac said banning glyphosate risks $3.8 billion of agricultural production in France.
SOURCE Sarina Locke, ABC.net.au
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