Minister of the Environment Karolina Skog (MP) now has the chance to vote against a renewed approval of the chemical pesticide glyphosate in the EU.
It would promote more sustainable agriculture that benefits biodiversity.
Our more than 5 organic farmers show that it is possible to produce Krav-labelled and organic foods without spreading chemical pesticides such as glyphosate in our nature.
There is a storm in the EU over the chemical pesticide glyphosate. On 25 October, Member States were to vote on a ten-year renewed authorization for the controversial herbicide, but the vote was suspended because the proposal lacked sufficient support. On November 9, it is time for a vote again. We assume that Sweden and other member states show that it is time to lead EU agriculture out of today's dependence on chemicals.
Biodiversity is strongly threatened
Biodiversity on our planet is under great threat. Recently, a study came out that showed that 75 percent of the flying insects had disappeared from nature reserves in Germany in the last 27 years. Researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands highlight the use of chemical pesticides and a reduction in wild vegetation in agricultural landscapes as probable causes of the dramatic reduction.
The cultivation methods that Krav-certified and organic farmers use contributes to increased biodiversity. There are 30 percent more species of plants, insects and other animals in organic farming. It shows a review of research in the field that was done in 2014 by researchers from Oxford University and SLU, among others.
Glyphosate is the world's most widely used chemical pesticide, in Sweden between 600 and 700 tonnes are sold per year. Unfortunately, all the glyphosate that is sprayed in the fields to kill weeds does not stop there, but some ends up in our watercourses. This can be seen in SLU's environmental monitoring of pesticides; in 2016, glyphosate was found in almost all, 96 percent, of the water samples.
Contaminates the soils
A report from the European Commission's Joint Research Center and two Dutch universities also shows that glyphosate, or its degradation product AMPA, is found in 45 percent of European agricultural soils. The researchers point to risks for people who may be exposed through weather and wind, as well as that the health of the soils is negatively affected.
Prior to the EU decision, it has been debated whether glyphosate is carcinogenic. In 2015, the World Health Organization's cancer research body, IARC, issued a report that sounded the alarm that glyphosate is likely to be carcinogenic. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), on the other hand, believes that the evidence for this is not strong enough.
In addition to the environmental and health risks that exist, we believe that the continued use of glyphosate and other chemical pesticides slows down the development of sustainable cultivation methods. It also counteracts several of the environmental goals and ambitions that the government safeguards in other contexts, such as the environmental quality goals of a non-toxic environment and a rich agricultural landscape.
Not using extraneous chemical pesticides is the foundation as it is Krav-certified and organic farming is based on. It promotes innovative and more environmentally friendly solutions to control weeds, pests and diseases. The basis for managing the weed pressure in organic farming is a varying crop rotation and to allow grass plants to be included in the crop rotation.
Both animals and humans a favor
To switch to as a farmer Krav-certified farming is not just doing the animals and nature a favor - it is also a business decision. There are many opportunities for those who enter the growing organic market to produce the food that consumers demand.
Achieving sustainable food production is a challenge. Many of the problems are common to Krav-branded and conventional food production. We can also find common solutions that benefit everyone. It needs our environment, our farmers and all of us who eat food!
President Ekologiska Lantbrukarna
Charlotte Bladh André
VD Organic Sweden
Published in Göteborgsposten 2017-11-08