France announces partial ban on glyphosate

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A partial ban on the use of weedkiller glyphosate has been announced in France.The French government plans to phase out the use of glyphosate products by January 1, 2021 – unless there are no viable alternatives to the herbicide.

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) published on Friday October 9 the rules for its assessment of non-chemical alternatives.

See also: French Minister of Agriculture: glyphosate is a vital tool for conservation

ANSES said glyphosate would be banned from use on arable crops, including cereals, rapeseed and sunflower, when the land has been plowed between crops.

Its use will only be authorized in exceptional circumstances.

And the maximum annual dosage rate has been reduced by 60% for crops and orchards and 80% for vineyards.

The use of glyphosate will be prohibited between rows of fruit trees; the alternative is to let the grass grow or to perform mechanical weeding.

However, under certain circumstances, French growers will still be allowed to use the herbicide.

Exceptions will be allowed when the use of power tools is impractical, due to stony ground or steep slopes; removal of hard-to-control perennial weeds or conservation agriculture that does not use tillage to preserve the soil.

ANSES said 36 glyphosate products will be taken off the market and no longer be able to be used from the end of 2020. This includes a number of versions of Bayer’s Roundup weedkiller.

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Roundup users blamed the weedkiller for causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.

Bayer continues to defend the 40-year safety record of its Roundup glyphosate-based weedkillers and insists that they are safe when used as directed.

In December 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to phase out the use of glyphosate within three years. But French farmers have warned that there are no viable alternatives.

Macron’s government set to allow sugar beet growers to use banned neonicotinoid pesticides on the crop after the beet yellows virus destroyed much of the sugar beet crop in France , including losses of almost 50% in some areas.

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