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Vietnam Bans Importation of Glyphosate
Vietnam announced this week it is banning the importation of glyphosate. It comes after the most recent glyphosate verdict that went against Bayer in a California court.
Last month, a California jury awarded $80 million to the plaintiff in the case of Hardeman v. Monsanto, a trial conducted in the federal glyphosate multidistrict litigation before Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California.
Bayer is now 0 for 2 in glyphosate trials. Last August, San Francisco Superior Court jurors ruled in favor of Dewayne Johnson, a 42-year-old school groundskeeper suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the verdict, jurors found Monsanto liable for $289 million. That award was later reduced to $78 million and is on appeal.
CropLife Asia, which terms itself the regional voice of the plant science industry in that region of the world, issued the following statement.
“The decision to take a safe and effective herbicide like glyphosate out of the hands of farmers signals a detour from the great progress and advancements made by Vietnam agriculture in this young century.
Most discouraging in today’s decision is the process that yielded it. There were no consultations with the nation’s farmers and larger agricultural sector; no discussions with national or global experts; and no new scientific data to support taking this detour.
To the contrary, the overwhelming evidence strongly supports ensuring that Vietnam’s 25 million farmers continue to have access to safe and effective herbicides like glyphosate. A study recently conducted by the United Kingdom’s PG Economics Limited indicates farmers across Asia, including Vietnam, would see significant input cost increases if restrictions on glyphosate were put in place. Specifically, PG Economics estimates additional weed control costs for Asia’s farmers without the benefits of glyphosate would tally between US$1.4 and US$1.9 billion.
Meanwhile, more than 800 comprehensive scientific studies around the world have been conducted on glyphosate. The result is a very strong safety profile over the course of four decades that has enabled its approval for use in more than 160 countries globally. Some of the higher-profile regulatory agencies which have repeatedly found it safe for use include: the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA); the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA); the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Australia Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA); and the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residue.
CropLife Asia will continue to pledge its partnership with the nation’s government and food value chain stakeholders in the shared journey ahead; and we will also remain steadfast in our commitment to Vietnam Farmers in ensuring their access to safe and effective plant science technology.”
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) that Vietnam will ban the importation of glyphosate:
“We are disappointed in Vietnam’s decision to ban glyphosate, a move that will have devastating impacts on global agricultural production. As I’ve often said, if we’re going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, farmers worldwide need all the tools and technologies at our disposal.
“On numerous occasions, USDA has shared scientific studies with MARD from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other internationally recognized regulatory bodies concluding that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans. This ban flies on the face of that scientific evidence. Furthermore, Vietnam has sidestepped its obligation to notify this regulatory change to the World Trade Organization.
“Vietnam also needs to look at the potential ramifications for its own farmers. In addition to the immediate effect of slowing the development of Vietnamese agricultural production, there’s the very real risk that Vietnam’s farmers will turn to unregulated, illegal chemical products in place of glyphosate.”