1. Agriculture World

Germany to Ban Use of Glyphosate Weedkiller by 2023

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Germany joins Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg and Malta in recognizing the need to phase out glyphosate-based weedkillers till 2023.

The decision that was announced on 4th September 2019 is a big blow to the German chemical giant Bayer. Berlin adds to the reputational damage incurred by the Bayer chemicals giant that took over Monsanto last year (2018) for €54bn & has since seen its stock value fall.

The German firm is already exposed to multi-billion-dollar litigation costs in America - one of Monsanto’s best-selling products is the weed killer Roundup that is used widely since the 1970s, which popularized glyphosates. A 2015 WHO (World Health Organization) report linked glyphosates to cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The agent is also linked to the decline of pollinating insects like butterflies and bees.

Bayer yesterday issued a statement expressing its disagreement with the German government.


Bayer said, “Such a ban will ignore the overwhelming scientific assessments of competent authorities across the world that have determined for over 40 years that glyphosate can be used safely”.

But both the policy as well as the scientific consensus is changing.

In October 2017, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution that calls for a glyphosate ban by the year 2022; the European Commission extended the glyphosate license for 5 years, giving scope for different policy reactions. In the meantime, 8 EU member states opted to ban the agent effective immediately but Germany, France and the Czech Republic are taking a more gradual approach.

France in 2017 voted to extend the glyphosate license, in line with European Commission demands, however 20 mayors in France have resisted the national decision & banned the weed killer effective instantly. Germany is joining the consensus.

It must be noted that Bayer is not the only German firm concerned by this decision; the BASF group also produces a glyphosate-based weed killer under license.

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