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Impact of Banning Glyphosate


In November, the European Union agreed to extend the license for glyphosate for five years after protracted negotiations and considerable opposition from opponents of intensive crop agriculture and specifically GM technology.

A recent study* calculated that if glyphosate were to be banned, the advantages associated with GM herbicide-tolerant crops would be lost. At the present time, it is estimated that 375 million acres are planted to herbicide-tolerant cultivars. The annual loss to global farm production would be $6.8 billion as a result of reducing soybeans by 18.6 million tons, corn by 3.1 million tons and canola by 1.4 million tons respectively. It is calculated that without glyphosate and GM herbicide-tolerant cultivars, an additional 9,000 tons of herbicide would be required with a profound environmental impact. Carbon emissions would increase the equivalent of adding 12 million autos to the world’s fleet. Yields of crops without the use of glyphosate would fall with soybean output decreasing by 3.7 percent. Land use would have to change with additional planting of 1.9 million acres resulting in deforestation adding to release of carbon dioxide.

*Brookes, G. et al., The Contribution of Glyphosate to Agriculture and Potential Impact of Restrictions on Use at the Global Level. GM Crops and Food, 11th December 2017

(SMS 2,050-17 December 17th 2017)