16 Mar 2017
INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC OPINION ON GLYPHOSATE BY ECHA IMPORTANT FOR PLANT PROTECTIONEnvironment & Rural Affairs, Grain
IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed the independent scientific opinion on the hazard classification of glyphosate by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) yesterday. This assessment clears the way for the relicensing of glyphosate later this year by the EU Commission and Member States.
Mr Healy said, “It is very clear that the glyphosate issue is being used as a political football by a small number of vested interest groups to drive their own agenda. It is vitally important that any decision to approve or not approve plant protection products is based on the best scientific evidence available and not on a political whim, avoiding a repeat of what happened in 2007 and 2016”.
“Unfortunately, politics rather than science has been the main driver behind several important decisions taken in relation to crop production technologies in recent years. This has the potential to destroy the EU crop production sector in the near to medium term and will lead to significant land abandonment”.
“Europe is one of the world’s largest trading blocs in cereal, producing 340m tonnes annually. It ranks as the largest exporter of wheat onto the world market and any major disruption to production would cause a significant spike in grain and food prices. Europe must make rational decisions based on scientific fact rather than political ideologies or emotions.”
Commenting on the situation, IFA Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said, “Glyphosate has been used very effectively in Irish and European farming for almost 40 years. The herbicide is an integral part of the modern farming practice in both tillage and grassland production. Glyphosate is a systemic product which is translocated to the rhizomes or roots of perennial weeds providing long-term control”.