11 April 2019
The Vietnamese Government decision to ban the use of glyphosate-based herbicide products goes against all independent scientific evidence and is unacceptable for Vietnamese farmers, the Australian agricultural sector and global trade.
Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia said, “This decision is without a genuine foundation in fact and is entirely unacceptable, not only for Vietnamese farmers but for Australia’s farming sector and more broadly for global agricultural trade. The legitimacy of the process for the decision is also questionable. There were no consultations with their own nation’s farmers and larger agricultural sector; no discussions with national or global experts; and no new scientific data to support taking this ridiculous decision.
“The world’s most sophisticated, advanced and scientifically-competent regulators have declared glyphosate safe. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, European Food Safety Authority and regulatory authorities in Canada, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and many other nations have consistently reaffirmed that glyphosate-based products are safe and not carcinogenic. As Health Canada noted in a very recent statement, ‘no pesticide regulatory authority in the world currently considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at the levels at which humans are currently exposed’.
“Vietnam’s own Technical Advisory Committee has twice confirmed that there is no scientific justification to ban glyphosate, so if the Vietnamese Government is now claiming they have data or research showing otherwise, it must be released immediately.
“The decision is in direct contravention of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and could lead to serious consequences for Australian grain farmers and the export of Australian agricultural commodities.
“Decisions on agricultural chemicals must be based on accurate, scientific data and evidence-based assessments. Decisions must not be motivated or compromised by activist organisations’ misplaced political agendas or brought about because of United States civil litigation cases.
“There are no agronomic or environmental benefits to banning glyphosate, nor does this decision address the issue of misuse of agricultural chemicals by Vietnamese farmers, in fact it will likely make it worse.
“Rather than send their farmers back to the dark ages by banning glyphosate, the Vietnamese Government should be considering ways to better assist their farmers to safely use crop protection products.
“It is clearly time for wiser minds within the Vietnamese Government to intervene and take control of this issue before serious damage is done to farming.
“The Australian Government through Minister Littleproud has been making strong representations directly at Ministerial level with the Vietnamese Government. Following this unjustifiable and flawed decision that puts at risk the strong agricultural commodity trade relationship between Australia and Vietnam and poses a serious threat to our own nation’s farming sector, further immediate action must be taken.
“This is an issue of national interest and therefore, in the context of the Federal Election, should simply have bipartisan support. If the Vietnamese Government wishes to make unjustifiable decisions and send their farmers back half a century, then the Australian Government should seriously consider suspending all agricultural aid given to Vietnam until the nation returns to independent, science-based regulatory decisions,” Mr Cossey concluded.