Glyphsate is a good non-selective plant killer, but then, so are many other herbicides. All of them kill both the crops and the weeds. The specialty of glyphosate and its very extensive use is only in relation to its use on genetically modified “Roundup Ready” crops that are so engineered not to die of glyphosate sprayed indiscriminately over farmland by airplane, helicopter and massive crop sprayers. Another dangerous use of more recent origin is to use glyphosate as a desiccant even on non-GMO seed, and cereal crops, cotton and sugarcane – purely for convenience of harvesting.
Tea is not a “Roundup Ready Crop”. Therefore, glyphosate is not a crucial requirement for the tea plantations. In fact, glyphosate formulations are not at all necessary for weed control in tea plantations. Any other accepted weed killer will be more than sufficient. If not the administrators of the Regional Plantation Companies, at least the administrators of the Plantation Ministry should have realized this long ago.
If glyphosate is banned for other food crops because of health hazards, then it must be banned for tea too. As a global consumer drink, tea is second only to the vital thirst quencher, water. Over two billion people drink tea from a global production of three billion tons. We cannot afford to lose our tea trade, which will inevitably happen with continued use of glyphosate. We will lose over two million livelihoods too. What is crucial? Trade and livelihoods or convenience of glyphosate?
Anti-glyphosate consumer groups are very strong. In the USA the Organic Consumers Association with over two million women is just one of several. Another, Moms Across America, which is as strong, wants a full stop on the “practice of spraying glyphosate on GE foods and as a drying agent on food crops, increasing the consumption of glyphosate in our food, including but not limited to, wheat, corn, soy, sugar, rice, dry peas and beans and tea”. Note the last word – TEA!!!
These two women’s consumer group will influence their families, thereby increasing the number of campaigners to about 16 million. There are several such groups.
A survey of consumers in the European Union extrapolated to the total population shows that over 65% are against the use of glyphosate. Prohibition of glyphosate was backed by 75% of Italians, 70% of Germans, 60% of French and 56% of Britons, in a survey of more than 7,000 people across the EU’s five biggest states.
This opposition cannot be ignored. The present state of glyphosate is precarious too. It will be banned soon, the world over. There need be no doubt about that. Recently unearthed evidence against it is damning.