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Unions push for 18-month extension on glyphosate

The four farming unions have thrown their weight behind a proposal put forward by European farming group Copa-Cogeca to extend the licence for glyphosate for up to 18 months.


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UK farm chiefs had originally supported a reauthorisation of the herbicide for 15 years – recently reduced to nine – due to objections from a number of member states.


It came as the World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosed details of its conclusions, which found glyphosate was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans via exposure from the diet.

 

Carcinogenic


The WHO had previously found glyphosate to potentially be carcinogenic to humans and prompted the objections from member states including France, Italy, Sweden, Luxembourg and Austria.


The WHO said it was satisfied there was sufficient scientific evidence to draw this conclusion, indicating further studies were not necessary.


The 18-month extension will be voted on by EU member states at a meeting on Monday (June 6).


Glyphosate’s EU licence expires on June 30. If no decision is made by then, member states will be forced to withdraw all authorisations for glyphosate-based products with a six-month grace period.

 

Importance


Ulster Farmers Union deputy president Ivor Ferguson met with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Europe’s farming leaders this week.


He said UK unions would join farming organisations across Europe in writing to the EU Commission to ‘stress the importance to both farming and the environment of the reauthorisation of Europe’s most commonly used herbicide’.

 


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