Farmers In Latin America Facing Environmental Push-Back

Planting and applying pre-emerge herbicide. ©Debra L Ferguson

Farmers in two Latin American countries – Brazil and Mexico – are facing a degree of uncertainty about what crop protection materials will be available now or in the future.

A Brazilian court recently suspended registration of 63 crop protection materials that were approved by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), according to a report on the AgroPages website.

The ruling covered a wide range of chemistries, including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

The ruling was issued by Judge Luis Praxedes Vieira da Silva, who said that the materials should not be marketed in Brazil because their “high toxicity rate is incompatible with the principles of governing economic activity, as they override the protection of the environment and are contrary to the basic principle of economic order, according to which economic activity is based on defending the environment and safeguarding the right to health and food.”

In the ruling, the judge stated: “An economically-rich country with a growingly sick population can occur suddenly if we do not counter, today, the inclusive practice of such chemical and biological agents that are harmful to our environment. To think otherwise would be to let the administrative rules, often under the judgment of economic conglomerates that hold the bargaining power, allow the constitutionally-protected collective right, which is our environment, to be abused.

“Many of these pesticides are banned in developed countries, where compliance with their constitutional rules is stricter.”

The action stemmed from a lawsuit filed in late September by Federal Deputy Célio Studart (PV-CE), according to the AgroPages report.

“We will make sure that this act remains suspended and Brazil can reflect on, with greater insight, this abusive number of pesticides,” Studart wrote in a memo to a legislative committee.

No word on possible appeals.

Mexico Holds Up Glyphosate Shipment

In a related development – also reported by AgroPages – Mexico blocked delivery of a 1,000-ton glyphosate shipment into the country due to “health and environmental concerns.”

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Mexico becomes the latest in a string of countries to announce some type of ban on glyphosate.

Mexico’s environment department said it denied a permit to import glyphosate, which presumably was meant for agricultural use.

In a statement, environmental regulators said that “glyphosate represents a high environmental risk, given the credible presumption that its use can cause serious environmental damage and irreversible health damage.”

Previously, Thailand and Germany announced bans or phase-outs of glyphosate, AgroPages noted.




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