Germany to ban glyphosate weedkiller

Germany is planning to ban the use of glyphosate weedkiller by 2023 to preserve insects crucial for ecosystems and pollinating food crops, AFP reports.

Ministers said on 4 September that the chemical – the subject of multi-million dollar cancer lawsuits in the USA – was to be banned by 2023, when the EU’s current approval period would expire.

In the first stage of the phase-out, the weedkiller – which is sold under the brand name Roundup – would be banned from next year in city parks and private gardens.

AFP said that herbicide and insecticide use would also be restricted or banned in more species-rich areas such as grasslands and orchard meadows, and along many river and lake shores.

Farm groups and the chemical industry had lobbied for the continued use of glyphosate, produced by US agribusiness Monsanto, which German chemical firm Bayer acquired in June 2018 for US$63bn.

Bayer said the chemical could be used safely and was “an important tool for ensuring both the sustainability and productivity of agriculture”.

Austria became the first EU member to ban all glyphosate use in July, with restrictions also in force in the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands. France was phasing it out by 2023, AFP wrote.