Mexican science agency halves recommendation for glyphosate imports this year

MEXICO CITY, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Mexico's top science agency has cut its recommendation for maximum glyphosate imports by half this year, urging agriculture businesses to take steps to reach a government target of phasing out the herbicide completely by 2024.

Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology, CONACYT, advised a maximum import quota of 8.26 million kilogrammes (kg) for formulated glyphosate, and 628,616 kg for the more concentrated technical glyphosate, which it said are half the amounts it recommended last year.

"This action moves forward the process to gradually eliminate glyphosate that will culminate in 2024 with its total ban," CONACYT said in a statement, noting that alternatives exist for weed management.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador issued an executive order in 2020 to phase out glyphosate and GMO corn by 2024, arguing Mexico must attain food self-sufficiency without using toxic chemicals, a move supported by environmental and food safety activists.

However, Mexico's top farm lobby CNA has opposed the plan, arguing that neither glyphosate nor GMO corn are harmful to health and that reducing their use could affect farm production.

When asked to comment on the new CONACYT recommendation over glyphosate, CNA said the science agency had "skewed opinions" that do not protect health or allow the agricultural sector to develop.

"It is a product that when used properly and respecting existing regulation does not cause damage to health or the environment," CNA said in a statement, referring to the herbicide.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Daina Beth Solomon and Kenneth Maxwell

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