France to help farmers abandon glyphosate weedkiller

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PARIS (Reuters) – France will provide financial assistance to farmers who agree to end the use of glyphosate, the agriculture ministry said on Monday after President Macron said he had failed in his efforts to ban the use of the herbicide by 2021.

FILE PHOTO: A box of glyphosate weedkiller in a treated mustard field in Ouzouer-sous-Bellegarde, France, November 30, 2017. REUTERS / Christian Hartmann

Glyphosate, first developed by Bayer Monsanto under the Roundup brand, has sparked intense global debate about its safety since a World Health Organization agency concluded in 2015 that it likely causes cancer.

While regulators around the world have determined glyphosate to be safe, Bayer agreed in June to settle nearly 100,000 U.S. lawsuits for $ 10.9 billion, denying allegations Roundup caused cancer.

France will grant a temporary tax credit of 2,500 euros ($ 3,030) to farmers who declare in 2021 and / or 2022 that they have stopped using glyphosate in the sectors most affected by the cessation of the use of l ‘herbicide, such as wine, orchards and grain crops, the ministry said.

It is also increased to 215 million euros in funding planned to help farmers in the leading agricultural producer in the European Union to change their agricultural equipment.

“The challenge is to put in place mechanisms to compensate farmers for the costs of withdrawing (from) glyphosate, because today a farmer who invests to phase out glyphosate does not benefit from immediate value creation,” he said. the ministry said in a statement.

Stopping the use of glyphosate on a cereal farm results in a loss of gross operating margin of up to 16%, which is equivalent to an additional cost of up to 80 euros per hectare, or up to 7,000 euros for an average farm of 87 hectares, says the ministry.

Last week, Macron told the online channel Brut that he had not changed his mind on the goal of ending the use of glyphosate, but admitted that he had failed to do it within three years – a commitment he made in 2017 – describing it as a collective failure.

The French health and environment agency, ANSES, in October announced restrictions on glyphosate in agriculture, but halted ahead of a total ban due to a lack of non-alternative alternatives. chemicals in some areas.

(1 USD = 0.8260 euros)

Report by Sybille de La Hamaide; Edited by David Goodman

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