A virtual policy dialogue organized by EURACTIV and supported by the GRG took place on 20 April 2021, brought together a panel of experienced professionals to discuss the timely topic of glyphosate’s ongoing regulatory renewal process, and the possible implications of eliminating it from the farmers’ toolbox.
The panellists, including a distinguished scientist, two farmers, and a GRG representative based the discussion on the science behind the regulatory process, the role glyphosate plays in conservation agriculture, and the farmers’ experiences and needs.
Dr Emilio Gonzalez, Secretary-General of the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF), and a professor at the School of Agriculture & Forestry at the University of Cordoba focused on conservation agriculture and soil degradation.
In his view, glyphosate is an important tool in conservation agriculture since it replaces tillage, insisting that the environment where glyphosate is applied is much safer than degraded land and soil. According to Gonzalez, among other things, tillage adversely affects biodiversity.
The panel also brought together two farmers from different EU regions to share their experiences and provide their perspectives.
Max Schulman, a cereals farmer from Finland, spoke candidly and said that glyphosate is a tool that enables him to achieve good results using the minimum required dose, replacing tillage practices, and allowing him to spend less time on the field, apply fewer herbicides and save costs.
Pedro Gallardo, a cereals farmer from Spain, a different climatic region, recounted the challenges facing him on his farm, including weeds problems and water scarcity. He outlined the benefits he sees with glyphosate use as it provides a safe and efficient way to control weeds and enables him to use less water than with other tools fighting weeds.
These benefits outlined by the farmers became even more evident to them as they both stopped using glyphosate for periods of time. Using other tools did not accomplish the same results, and both opted to use glyphosate again.
Both farmers emphasised that the regulators should also listen to the farmers’ experiences and needs. Along with the other panellists, they expressed their trust in the EU regulatory process and the authorities conducting the ongoing evaluation.
Karina von Detten, a representative from Nufarm, a GRG member, expressed the importance of ensuring that the evaluation process would be science driven. She attested that the process involves a very high set of standards and reiterated that the Glyphosate Renewal Group is committed to transparency.
She supported the farmers’ claims that without glyphosate in their toolbox, they would need to apply more herbicides and use tillage, to achieve the same results.
She assured that the industry is working side by side with the farmers on proper glyphosate use and looking into the future by working on glyphosate alternatives but stated that the industry is not there yet.
Please find the event’s recording in this link.