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EU farmers warn about the cost of not authorizing glyphosate

Staff writer |
Farmers from various parts of the European Union met with the Commissioner for Public Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukatis.

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Farmers wanted to warn him about the great cost that the farmers and consumers in the EU would have to pay if the authorization of the herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate were not renewed.

Guy Smith, a farmer from the UK and a member of the NFU organization stated: "The loss of glyphosate would cost the UK economy some 630 million euros per year and it would make us less competitive than the farmers from non-EU countries that have good access to these products."

Christian Durlin, a French farmer that is part of the FNSEA organization, said: "Glyphosate allows me to harvest at the right time and to achieve an optimum production that meets the high quality demands required to export and to remain competitive."

The Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca, Pekka Pesonen, stated "following the mandate given to us unanimously by all members of COPA and COGECA, we request the glyphosate's approval be extended over the next 15 years.

Farmers need cost-effective and sustainable products that enable them to produce healthy, reliable food at affordable prices. We support the work of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), which has made a positive assessment of glyphosate that should be taken into account.

Therefore, Pesonen added, we urge Member States to vote in favor of the authorization. "The absence of glyphosate would threaten the farmers' lives and endanger food production, because there are no alternatives to it," he said.

The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said in a press conference that he had proposed a 12 to 18 months extension after informing the College of EU Commissioners on the status of discussions regarding the glyphosate dossier with Member States.

Andriukaitis requested that the Committee of Experts, which meets to discuss the issue once again on Monday June 6, votes a limited extension of the current approval until the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which according to Andriukaitis has the last word on the matter, issues a report and clears the remaining doubts.

The commissioner said that, if no agreement was reached, the issue would have to be taken to the Appeals Committee, or otherwise, the EC would have to decide how to move forward.

The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety emphasized that "Member States will no longer have a choice, as the authorization expires on July 1. If there isn't an extension, they will have to withdraw authorizations for pesticides containing glyphosate in their markets," he added. However, Andriukaitis said, "we expect there will be a majority and that all Member States will assume their responsibilities."

The Commissioner made it clear that the countries were not required to use this products and that "those who do not want to use glyphosate-based products may restrict their use without hiding behind the decision of the EC."

Andriukaitis said "the EU had the strictest pesticide authorization procedure in the world, and that it would conduct scientific assessments for years before approving or renewing an active substance at the EU level."


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