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Luxembourg becomes the first country in Europe to ban glyphosate

Luxembourg announced a ban on all glyphosate-based products by the end of 2020.

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the European Union to ban the use of glyphosate entirely. On the 16th of January, the Ministry of Agriculture announced its decision and established the 31st of December 2020 as the deadline to phase the chemical out. So by the end of this year all products containing it will be banned, including Roundup, the notorious herbicide produced by Monsanto (now owned by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer).

Read more: Seed freedom is our right. Monsanto doesn’t and can’t patent seeds in India

Luxembourg’s three-stage plan to say goodbye to glyphosate

“It’s a decisive step in the context of a sustainability programme that aims to favour the use of modern phytosanitary products that are respectful of the environment,” Romain Schneider, the Grand Duchy’s Minister for Agriculture, explained in a press release. To achieve this objective, the government has set out three stages that will have to be followed over the course of the year.

Roundup Monsanto pesticide luxembourg bans glyphosate
A bottle of Roundup, Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide © Philippe Huguen/Getty Images

The first stage is set for the 1st of February: from this day onward, licences to sell glyphosate-based products will be discontinued. The second stage is planned for the 30th of June, halfway through the year, when farmers who own such herbicides are expected to have exhausted their stocks. There may be exemptions granted in certain cases, but none that extend past the 31st of December.

Read more: The human cost of agrotoxins. How glyphosate is killing Argentina

Austria’s government backtracks on the herbicide

Noteworthy is the fact that 60 per cent of farmers in Luxembourg have already ceased their use of glyphosate, according to government data. At the end of 2019, the government introduced subsidies to help businesses: 30 euros per farmed hectare and up to 50 euros for wine vineyards. This financial support, however, has been deemed insufficient by the country’s main agricultural union.

Nevertheless, Minister Schneider believes the transition is possible. And he added that the goal is to “be a driving force within the European Union, taking into account the fact that other nations – such as Austria – are launching similar initiatives”. The government in Vienna was supposed to introduce a ban on glyphosate-based products starting from the beginning of this year. However, the proposed law was blocked by the executive at the last minute.

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