NFUS urges members to fight to save weedkiller
AS THE date looms for the EU’s decision on whether or not to reauthorise the controversial weedkiller glyphosate, the NFU Scotland has called for farmers to get the message out on how important it is.
The NFUS argued the world’s most widely used herbicide ‘must be re-authorised for a full 15 years, including for use pre-harvest’ at the launch of its #GlyphosateIsVital campaign.
The vast majority of arable and livestock farms across Scotland, it says, relies heav- ily on glyphosate to control weeds, manage harvests and reduce grain- drying costs. But glyphosate has been the subject of a re-licensing battle which split governments, regulators and scientists.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organisation, in 2015 classified glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, and said there was ‘limited evidence’ that it was carcinogenic in humans for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
However, another arm, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), judged glyphosate safe for public use in March, deciding that ‘the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or for reproductive toxicity’.
ECHA was asked to assess its toxicity after EU countries failed to agree on a re-authorisation for the best-selling herbicide last summer.
In 2016, glyphosate was re-authorised for 18 months rather than the 15 years UK farming unions, including NFUS, had called for.
The NFUS stated at its campaign launch in Coldstream: ‘Given that glyphosate has now been given as much of a clean bill of health as any plant protection product is likely to get, and given its fundamental importance to farmers across Scotland, the NFUS is calling on its members to get involved in the effort to ensure that it is re-authorised for a full 15-year period when it is considered again by EU member states and institutions later this year.’
President Andrew McCornick said: ‘Let your MEPs and the European Commission know how important glyphosate is for you, and don’t assume someone else will be do doing it so you need not bother. As a farming community, we need to speak up for glyphosate, so please do your bit. The NFUS will be making its case on social media, using the hashtag #GlyphosateIsVital, and I encourage others to do the same.’