Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall has welcomed the European Parliament vote backing the re-authorisation of the key herbicide glyphosate.
Wednesday’s vote follows intense lobbying by the UFU and other UK and EU farming unions, who joined forces to fight off attempts by campaigners to prevent re-authorisation.
“This is the world’s most widely used herbicide, and the recent positive safety report issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), mean re-authorisation is both justified and essential,” said Mr Marshall. He added that while the vote is non-binding, it sends a clear signal to the Commission that glyphosate must remain in the plant protection toolbox of farmers for many years to come.
With the decision now in the hands of the European Commission and member states, the UFU says they need to follow science by re-authorising glyphosate for all current uses.
“It is important that this herbicide remains as widely available to the industry as it is now,” stressed Mr Marshall.
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has described the decision as “common sense”.
Mr Nicholson said: “I welcome this common sense decision taken by MEPs today to give the green light to the re-authorisation of glyphosate for another seven years. At a time of crisis across all sectors in agriculture, this will prevent even further difficulty being imposed on farmers.
“Pesticides are not a luxury for producers – they are a necessity. Responsible use of substances like glyphosate is crucial in healthy food production, sustainable farming and in reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
“I have long been an advocate for evidence-based policy-making.”