MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Agriculture Department has proposed rules for phasing out the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in weed killer Roundup, by early 2024.
The rules were praised by environmentalists and organic producers who have complained of pesticide contamination, but drew criticism from many farmers.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has long objected to the pesticide, and in late 2019, Mexico blocked a 1,000-ton shipment of the pesticide from entering the country, citing health and environmental concerns.
But previous rule proposals from the agriculture department had suggested that more study was needed. The new proposal is to look for replacements.
“Until January 31, 2024, a transition period will be established to achieve the total substitution of glyphosate,” said the proposal published last week.
On Monday, Mexico’s Organic Producers’ Society welcomed the latest proposal, but proposed a special label be established to certify products that are free of glyphosate.
“We do not use glyphosate on our crops, but we have been the victims of external contamination by this substance anyway” said Homero Blas Bustamante, president of the organic society. “This has caused economic losses for organic producers, mainly of coffee and honey.”
But the comments page for the proposed rule was crowded with dozens of messages from farmers angry about the change, saying they relied on the pesticide.
The European Union in late 2017 approved a five-year extension allowing the use of glyphosate in member countries.
Environmentalists have demanded an immediate ban on the use of glyphosate over concerns it is leading to a decline of bees and other insects, and might be harmful to human health.
Bayer, which bought U.S. rival Monsanto in 2018, has faced several lawsuits over Roundup in the United States.