The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mexico’s Agriculture Department has proposed rules for phasing out the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup Weed Killer, by early 2024.
Although the announcement was applauded by environmental groups and organic food operations, many farmers are dismayed by the proposal. If a farmer stops applying glyphosate to crops, alternative herbicides and pesticides have to be purchased. In addition, farmers may have to purchase additional equipment for their operations.
Last week, the government of France announced a compensation program for its farmers who voluntarily stop using glyphosate-based herbicides. However, there was no mention of a compensation program in the AP story from Mexico.
According to the AP, Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has long been opposed to the use of glyphosate. Late last year, the Obrador administration blocked a 1,000-ton shipment of Roundup products from entering the country.
As part of the proposals issued by Mexico’s Agricultural Administration, replacements for glyphosate-based weed killers will be reviewed. But ultimately, by January 31, 2024, the “total substitution of glyphosate” will have been promulgated.
One of the groups that cheered the proposal was Mexico’s Organic Producers’ Society. The group also seeks a special label for certifying products as glyphosate-free.
Homero Blas Bustamante, president of the Society, told the AP, “We do not use glyphosate on our crops, but we have been the victims of external contamination by this substance anyway.” Bustamante added, “This has caused economic losses for organic producers, mainly of coffee and honey.”
Glyphosate products are still for sale in the EU; that trading block extended the approval of the herbicide for five years, in 2017. The World Health Organization [WHO]’s main cancer research agency (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probably carcinogenic to humans in 2015. Despite the classification and over 130,000 glyphosate cancer lawsuits filed in the U.S., glyphosate-based herbicides are still readily-available in the Unites States.