Glyphosate ban ‘would squeeze UK wheat output by 20%’

A ban on herbicides containing glyphosate would reduce British wheat production by 20%, according to research from the UK’s Crop Protection Association (CPA).

The study, which was carried out in partnership with Oxford Economists and the Andersons Centre, put the costs of a ban at £940 million (€1.1 billion) for UK farmers.

Some 28 global regulators have approved the product for use. These include: the World Health Organisation; the European Food Safety Authority; the European Chemicals Agency; the US Environment Protection Agency; and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

However, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, recently said political pressure to ban certain herbicides would only increase in future.

According to the MEP, more than one million citizens have put their names to a petition to ban glysophate, which she said “is a signal for how citizens perceive plant protection products”.

Commenting on the results of the CPA study, Oxford Economics Director of Consulting, Ian Mulheirn, said: “Our report’s findings are very clear; a glyphosate ban will negatively impact UK GDP and agriculture at a time of real uncertainty for British farmers.

“If glyphosate was not approved for use in the UK but remained available in the rest of the world, this would place domestic production at a considerable disadvantage. An EU-wide ban could even push up food prices for consumers.”

CPA Chief Executive Sarah Mukherjee described the debate as “more about politics than science”.

She said: “Glyphosate is and always has been safe, with over 40 years of robust scientific evidence showing no risk to safety.

Clearly the UK government should continue to champion a science-led approach to decision-making in Europe and vote to renew glyphosate’s licence.

“Failure to do so risks damaging the economy, the environment and the agricultural sector.”