Published: April 7, 2023

Category: Pesticides

As policymakers in the European Union develop plans to cut pesticide use and risk in half, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, working with the European Greens, recently released a report laying out safer, non-chemical alternatives to glyphosate-based herbicides.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most popular global weedkiller, and is present in 33% of herbicides sold in the EU. Its harms include risk to humans and other organisms, threats to biodiversity, and the unsustainability of industrial agriculture.

Gergely Simon, chemical officer at PAN Europe, said, “Without eliminating glyphosate Europe cannot fulfill EU’s 50% pesticide reduction targets by 2030 set by the European Green Deal and in the Farm to Fork strategy.”

Weed management expert and main report author Dr. Charles Merfield added, “Managing weeds without the agrichemical herbicides is entirely feasible. Organic farmers and growers have been doing this for over 70 years!”

Both low- and high-tech options for non-chemical weed management exist, and expertise and machines are available. To shift to this approach, the overall farming system must encompass diversification in crops and livestock through rotations—practices that promote soil health, biodiversity, fewer agrichemicals in the environment, and cleaner air and water.

“Science is clear,” Simon said. “Glyphosate damages ecosystems including pollinators and beneficial insects, earthworms, and soil biota, and causes direct harm to agriculture. Our report on available alternatives to glyphosate delivers a clear message, in fact, there are zero obstacles in banning this harmful chemical substance.”

Source: Sustainable Pulse

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights April 2023