PARIS (Reuters) – France will provide financial assistance to farmers who agree to stop using glyphosate, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday after President Macron said he had failed in his efforts to ban the use of the weedkiller by 2021.
Glyphosate, first developed by Bayer’s 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 that glyphosate is safe, Bayer agreed in June to settle nearly 100,000 lawsuits in the United States for $ 10.9 billion, denying claims that Roundup caused the disease. Cancer.
France will grant a temporary tax credit of 2,500 euros ($ 3,030) to farmers who declare in 2021 and / or 2022 to have stopped the use of glyphosate in the sectors most affected by the cessation of use weedkiller, such as wine, orchards and grain crops, the ministry said.
It also increased funding to 215 million euros 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 offset the costs of farmers due to the withdrawal (of) glyphosate, because today a farmer who invests to phase out glyphosate does not benefit from immediate value creation”, the ministry said in a statement.
Stopping the use of glyphosate on a cereal farm leads to a loss of gross operating income of up to 16%, which represents 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 in three years – a commitment he made in 2017 – describing it as a collective failure.
The French health and environment agency, ANSES, announced restrictions on glyphosate in agriculture in October, but halted ahead of a total ban due to the lack of non-chemical alternatives in some regions.
($ 1 = 0.8260 euros)
Report by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by David Goodman