Ho­gan ‘very con­cerned’ af­ter France says no to glyphosate

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - LOUISE HO­GAN

MA­JOR con­cerns now hang over the fu­ture use of glyphosate in the EU with the move by France not to back its reau­tho­ri­sa­tion, warned EU Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has pro­posed ex­tend­ing ap­proval by 10 years for glyphosate, which is a key ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in Mon­santo’s Roundup weed­killer. How­ever, it has stressed that it wants sup­port from mem­ber states to re­new the li­cence in the com­ing months.

“I’m very con­cerned at the mo­ment, par­tic­u­larly with the re­cent an­nounce­ment by France that an es­sen­tial prod­uct like glyphosate which deals with weeds will not be avail­able,” said Mr Ho­gan as he gave a key­note ad­dress at the ASA fu­ture of agri-food con­fer­ence.

UCD pro­fes­sor Jimmy Burke has warned that ban­ning glyphosate would be a “ham­mer blow” to the Irish agri­cul­ture in­dus­try as it would cost farm­ers as much as €30m a year in higher pro­duc­tion costs and loss of yield for tillage farm­ers.

Some of the big­ger coun­tries have yet to set out their po­si­tion on it. Mr Ho­gan said the po­si­tion that Ger­many will take on the is­sue will all de­pend on the up­com­ing elec­tions in the coun­try.

“The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the Com­mis­sioner has gone to all of the var­i­ous groups and the sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to show that glyphosate is ac­tu­ally safe but po­lit­i­cally it seems to be caus­ing some dif­fi­cul­ties in some mem­ber states,” said Mr Ho­gan. “We don’t want a sit­u­a­tion where mem­ber states are hid­ing be­hind the Com­mis­sion on var­i­ous is­sues.

“We want mem­ber states to come for­ward and sup­port the sci­ence-based rec­om­men­da­tion of Com­mis­sioner Vyte­nis An­driukaitis and en­sure the con­tin­u­a­tion of glyphosate for the next 10 years. It is too im­por­tant for agri­cul­ture — and for ur­ban dwellers as well who haven’t ac­cess to al­ter­na­tive prob­lems in re­la­tion to weeds in their gar­dens ei­ther.”

He pointed out that in gen­eral there is “big pres­sure” to re­duce all in­puts in agri­cul­ture, from fer­tilis­ers to all types of chem­i­cals.

Mr Ho­gan said this would also come into play in the next Com­mon Agri­cul­ture Pol­icy bud­get, with the 38pc slice of the EU Bud­get “un­der at­tack” from com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties across the EU.

“The 38pc is al­ways un­der at­tack when you have other pri­or­i­ties be­ing dis­cussed like de­fence, se­cu­rity and mi­gra­tion,” he said.

On the is­sue of Brexit, Mr Ho­gan said the EU needs to ac­cept that the onus to find a “work­able so­lu­tion”is their re­spon­si­bil­ity and com­mon-sense so­lu­tions were needed.

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