It’s an excellent opportunity to highlight the deep flaws in the EU’s rules on pesticide approval, to push for reform and to broaden the conversation about much-needed changes in European agriculture. Please sign the ECI and don’t hesitate to share the initiative with your contacts.
One of the reasons why glyphosate use has also been so controversial in Europe is that its EU safety evaluation was based on secret industry studies. This kind of secrecy panders to corporations and prevents proper scientific scrutiny of EU food safety decisions, meaning toxic products remain authorised for way too long. Pesticides should only be assessed on the basis of published evidence.
A glyphosate ban will be an important step towards reducing European agriculture’s addiction to biocides, especially now that we are experiencing the worst biodiversity collapse ever recorded. But it has to go hand-in-hand with support measures for the many farmers who still rely on glyphosate, otherwise they might be left worse off. Indeed, chemical substitutes to glyphosate (dicamba, glufosinate, 2,4D…) are typically more toxic, and sometimes also more expensive.
At the end of the day, there is no way around the fact that farmers’ terms of trade must improve. Last year, one third of French farmers had to survive with less than 350€ net a month, despite very long hours and hard physical labour. More than 600 French farmers committed suicide last year, the highest rate among all professions. To enable farmers to finally make a decent living out of their work without poisoning themselves and to move agronomy practices that do not compromise public health, the environment and our capacity to produce food in the future, societal support is urgently needed. The upcoming reform of the EU’s farm subsidies (the Common Agriculture Policy – CAP) will provide the next good opportunity to do so.