Glyphosate debate: What principles must be kept in mind?

Reacting to the recent discussions surrounding the re-authorisation of glyphosate that took place in Europe, the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) has sought to emphasise some principles that must be kept in mind when making decisions on this issue.

First and foremost, farmers’ health – as the first users of plant protection substances – cannot be dismissed and neither can the health of consumers, the organisation stressed.

In today’s time frame, according to CEJA, Europeans must show trust in European authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Furthermore, these institutions must be well funded in order to continue their research and examinations, it argued.

The development of sustainable plant protection is an ongoing process in which public authorities and private companies have to continually invest, the young farmers’ group added.

Politicians should never go along with “fear-mongering“, CEJA said – stressing that decisions should be based on rational arguments and independent scientific data, and the precautionary principle should not be misused in an ideological argument.

These remarks fall largely in line with Macra na Feirme national president James Healy’s comments on the matter. He said: “We must not let a debate based on emotion or fear overshadow scientific research and commentary.”

Also Read: ‘The future of glyphosate should be determined with scientific facts’

CEJA also underlined the need for discussions on glyphosate to focus on European realities in terms of the substance’s use and the legal framework in which it is used.

It believes that the discussions should not be misled by the agricultural practices of other countries. It is also necessary to take into account that the ban of glyphosate in the EU would affect the competitiveness of EU products in internal and international trade, the organisation explained.

CEJA represents the political interests of around two million young farmers from across Europe. Its main objectives are to facilitate the installation of young farmers, to inform and to train them as well as act as a forum for communication and dialogue between them.

The re-authorisation of glyphosate is set to be up for discussion on Thursday, November 9, when an EU standing committee is scheduled to cast a vote on the issue.