French Government starts phase-out of Glyphosate with online farmer platform and herbicide tax
The French government has released its glyphosate ‘phase-out’ online platform, in an attempt to help farmers across the country to stop using the world’s most used herbicide before 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office stated that the online platorm has been designed “to have a declarative site where every farmer who wishes can commit themselves either to say that they have already stopped using glyphosate, or to say that they have committed to stop its use in three years.”
Macron himself stated that the platform is for “all farmers who are ready to go sign up, make it visible, put pressure on others, create traceability to say everything is done without glyphosate.”
In parallel with the farmer commitment component on the online platform, the site will offer a ‘glyphosate phase-out’ farmer support component, starting in the first half of 2019, in conjunction with a ‘technical resource bank’ to be launched by the end of 2018.
It is expected that the 25,000 organic farms in France will sign up to the platform before the end of 2019, as glyphosate is already not used on certified organic farms worldwide.
The new French Ecology Minister, François Goullet de Rugy, also confirmed that the tax on the use of glyphosate will also be increased to help the phase-out: “To achieve this, the government plans to increase the fee for phytosanitary pollution. This fee will be raised by 50%, one more euro per kilo, for glyphosate. “
“This tax will help finance, with up to 50 million euros per year, the development of organic farming in addition to the 71 million euros devoted to the Ecophyto program for the reduction of use of phytosanitary products”, de Rugy continued.
Since the European Union reduced the re-licensing period for glyphosate from 15 to 5 years in 2017 following the classification of glyphosate as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), France and Germany, amongst other EU countries, have announced plans to totally phase-out the use of glyphosate herbicides over the next few years.
However, as Sustainable Pulse Director, Henry Rowlands, stated Friday; “It is impossible to phase-out glyphosate without a very clear plan regarding what farmers will be provided as alternatives. It has not yet been made clear by any countries in the EU what will be used to replace glyphosate-based herbicides for weed control.”
“We need to learn the lessons from the past that have seen both Middle Eastern countries and Sri Lanka putting bans on glyphosate herbicides only to replace them with other harmful chemical herbicides. There are some new non-toxic solutions for weed control but these need massive investment and quickly for them to be able to replace toxic herbicides in the next few years,” Rowlands concluded.