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

Young farmers across Europe must outline key scientific principles behind plant protection and herbicide products to respective national agricultural ministers, James Healy, president of Macra na Feirme, has stated.

Healy was speaking at a meeting of young farmers in Brussels on the re-authorisation of glyphosate. The next EU Council discussion on glyphosate will take place on November 9.

In his comments, the president said: “Farmers are professional users of plant protection and herbicide substances and have to the forefront their own health and the health of consumers.

We must not let a debate based on emotion or fear overshadow scientific research and commentary.

European Organisations such as the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) have scientific data that makes its stance clear on the safety of the product from a consumer and public health perspective, Macra has noted.

There are many economic and environmental arguments that can be raised on glyphosate, but any reauthorisation decision should be taken based on the safety of the product from a human health perspective and this data is available from independent European institutions, Macra added.

Healy concluded, noting: “It’s not the time for European political decision making institutions to do a solo run against the rest of the world.

Our politicians need to leave aside the emotive and populist argument and stick with the scientific data and not have European farmers at a disadvantage to the rest of the world.

This follows the recent move by MEPs in the European Parliament to vote in favour of phasing out the controversial weedkiller over the next five years.

MEPs approved a resolution, which is non binding, against extending the licensing of the herbicide for another 10 years. Instead they called for further restrictions on the chemical from 2018 and an outright ban in 2022.

They voted 355 in favour of the ban, 204 against and 111 abstentions were recorded.