The National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales is urging growers around the country to back its campaign calling on the European Commission to reapprove glyphosate for 15 years.
The herbicide was reapproved for use for 18 months last June amid political disagreements focusing on safety concerns and a decision on its future use will be made by the Commission by the end of this year. Its proposal is to re-authorise glyphosate for ten years.
But the NFU wants to see that extended to 15 years and is asking farmers to lobby MPs and MEPs making the case for glyphosate as it is vital to their business.
The union says the Commission’s ten-year proposal is not long enough and stresses that the European Chemicals Agency (ECA) has already published its report reinforcing glyphosate’s safety which means there is no regulatory reason why it should not be reapproved for 15 years.
Some NFU members have already got involved with the campaign but the union says more individual farmers need to speak up to politicians and take to social media to make their voices heard.
“If possible, get your MEP or MP out on farm. Invite them to come and look at your soils, weed burden, any cover crops and explain how glyphosate allows you to farm,” the NFU says.
Earlier this year the Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) and the Union of Small Growers (UPA-PV) also called on the EU to extend the legal use of the most used herbicide in the world for another 15 years.
Glyphosate has been authorised in the EU since 2002 and is one of several hundred active substance that have been assessed by member states and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in recent years.
When member states failed to take responsibility and no qualified majority was reached at either the Standing Committee or the Appeal Committee, the Commission extended its use for the short period of 18 months.
News agency Reuters also recently reported how European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has said that he had no reason to doubt that glyphosate was safe and it is up to governments at national level to agree to extend the approval.
“I wanted to make clear that the Commission has no intention to reapprove this substance without the support of a qualified majority of member states. This is and will remain a shared responsibility,” he is reported as saying.