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Next glyphosate fight? Colombian farmers challenge government plan to reinstate aerial coca crop spraying

| | March 10, 2020
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Pedro Arenas is afraid that they’ll take flight again. “I expect it could be within the next months,” he says. Since the end of [2019], nine AT-802 firefighting aircraft have been deployed throughout the country.

The planes are trying to eliminate a problem that has been causing bloodshed in Colombia for decades: cocaine. The planes are loaded with the controversial herbicide glyphosate …. [N]early 800 barrels of the chemicals are in stock from a Chinese manufacturer.

…. The last thing Arenas wants for the region is the return of the airplanes. When the first glyphosate offensive began in 1994, he was 23 years old. Plantains, yuca, corn — many important crops were destroyed ….

Related article:  Judge cancels second federal glyphosate-cancer trial to aid settlement talks between Bayer, plaintiffs

The year 2015 marked a turning point in Colombia. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.” Colombia’s response was to stop the aerial fumigation …. But conservative President Ivan Duque has since taken office …. It was only a matter of time before Duque would send planes back into the air.

The Colombian constitutional court …. has imposed strict regulations on the president for the use of glyphosate …. Arenas fears that Duque could override this. “If the planes take off, we’ll appeal to the highest authorities,” he says.

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