French agriculture minister says glyphosate key to sustainable farming, raising doubts about proposed weedkiller bans


France’s agriculture minister has declared glyphosate is an essential tool of the agroecological transition, raising hopes of a change in policy stance in the country.

Speaking on a French news television channel, Didier Guillaume said cover cropping is a recognized practice in the agroecological transition and to do this, there is a need for the weedkiller glyphosate.

“I believe it’s one liter of glyphosate per hectare,” said Mr Guillaume. “If there is no glyphosate, soil conservation agriculture can’t be done. Until we can find an alternative in the months ahead, my position on glyphosate is clear: we are going to continue soil conservation agriculture with glyphosate.”

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French growers have welcomed the minister’s comments, which come just months after the government announced a plan to ban almost half of the nation’s 69 glyphosate-containing products by the end of 2020 “due to a lack or absence of scientific data ruling out any carcinogenic risk”.

The debate over the safety of glyphosate has been raging since 2015 when the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that it is a “probable carcinogenic to humans”.

[Editor’s note: Read Is glyphosate (Roundup) dangerous? to learn more.]


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