Farmers need every tool available to help feed the world, Sonny Perdue said
By Diego Flammini
The United States Department of Agriculture is unhappy with the Vietnam’s decision on a crop protection product.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will ban imports of glyphosate-based products because “the toxic level of herbicides containing glyphosate had long been of concern,” Reuters reported on April 11. The ban will take effect in June.
Removing the effective herbicide tool from a farmers’ repertoire could have significant effects, said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
“In addition to the immediate effect of slowing the development of agricultural production, there’s the very real risk that Vietnam’s farmers will turn to unregulated, illegal chemical products in place of glyphosate,” he said in a statement.
U.S. farmers are puzzled by Vietnam’s decision.
Several scientific studies have shown that glyphosate is safe when used properly and it’s important for good weed control, said John Heisdorffer, a grain producer from Keota, Iowa and chairman of the American Soybean Association.
“We’ve used glyphosate for years because it’s been a good product and has been scientifically tested,” he told Farms.com. “Taking glyphosate away could put more pressure on those farmers to come up with solutions to weeds. I couldn’t imagine not having access to it.”
Glyphosate manufacturers also question the Vietnamese ruling.
Restricting its use may not help improve production, Bayer said in a statement.
The decision “will not help to improve food security, safety or sustainability in the country,” the April 10 statement says. “This litigation does not change the overwhelming weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of glyphosate-based herbicide products.”
At lease one farmer organization has released a statement reaffirming its support for glyphosate products.
Australian producers will continue to use glyphosate as an important weed management tool, said GrainGrowers, the country’s voice for grain producers.
“Registered for use in Australia for over 40 years, glyphosate is a critical tool for controlling noxious weeds, maintaining soil health and improving water use efficiencies for growers,” an April 12 statement said. “The Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s decision does not affect Australian growers’ ability to use glyphosate.”