A moment in history: A storm looms over global food security

    11 May 2023


    On February the 8th 1983, a giant wave of dust swept over Melbourne city, turning day into night. To this day, it remains Melbourne’s worst dust storm in history, dumping an estimated 100,000 tonnes of dry topsoil over the city caused by a confluence of excessive tillage and drought. Decades on, all eyes are on the European Commission as it deliberates over a decision to ban one of the most important agricultural innovations of our time.

    The judicious use of glyphosate, other specialised modern herbicides and cutting-edge science supporting evidence-based land use policy has accelerated sustainable conservation and zero-till farming practices since the 20th century. As a result, glyphosate has been hailed as one of – if not the most – important chemistries ever developed to revolutionise agriculture.

    This year, the use of glyphosate in European countries reaches a crossroads as the re-authorisation of glyphosate expires. The dramatic dichotomy between global scientific consensus and public policy and regulation (especially in Europe) has sparked global apprehension about what comes next for global food security and the possible return to a bygone era.

    Australia is fortunate to have a regulatory system that is based on scientific, independent assessments rather than activist propaganda and politically based decision making. It’s time that Europe’s decisions are also based on the same.

    Any changes to the regulation of agricultural chemicals in Europe will result in critical crop protection tools and associated import tolerances being unnecessarily withdrawn from the European market, severely impacting Australian trade. Furthermore, if such a precedent was followed in Australia, farmers would be forced to switch to less effective techniques and resort to old destructive, labour-intensive, and counter-intuitive practices like tillage.


    Read more of the Winter 2023 edition of CropLinks here: CropLife Australia | CropLinks Winter 2023