The UFU, and the other UK farm unions, have joined forces to fight off attempts by campaigners to prevent the re-registration of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and the world’s most widely used product to combat weeds in farm crops.
The unions have jointly written to the European Commission and key UK members of the European Parliament (MEPs) urging them to reject attempts by members of the parliament’s environment committee and others to block glyphosate’s re-registration.
UFU president, Ian Marshall, says those campaigning for this are seeking to ignore science.
“Glyphosate is widely and safely used to control weeds and ensure that invasive plant species along riverbanks are effectively managed,” said Mr Marshall.
He said glyphosate is a key part of farmers’ toolboxes and is used responsibly across the EU.
“The best available science says it’s safe. I believe we must be led by that and not by campaigners who care little about food production and price,” he said.
Mr Marshall added that failure to re-register glyphosate would be a blow for science-led decision making in the EU.
“It would only hit European farmers because it would not stop the importation of products grown with the cost advantage of glyphosate use,” said Mr Marshall.
The UFU says the loss of glyphosate would greatly increase the time and cost of managing weeds not only for farmers but for local councils and gardeners. It also undermines the competitive production of high quality, affordable crops in the EU.
“If farmers are to meet the challenge of sustainably producing more food for a growing global population and build resilience to climate change, we must have the tools we need to do so. Glyphosate is a vital part of that equation,” said Mr Marshall.
Meanwhile, Copa and Cogeca have sent a letter to the EU Commission and MEPs urging them to keep glyphosate on the EU market.
Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said that without glyphosate, crops throughout the world would be seriously threatened.