Guyana has no plans at least in the short term to ban the use of Roundup, according to Suresh Amichand, senior inspector at the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals (Control) Board.

In March, the International Agency for Research and Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) designated glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup.

Roundup is a broad-spectrum herbicide which is used to prepare land for cultivation by killing all weeds that may be growing there. As the most heavily used herbicide in the world, Roundup brings billions of dollars in profits to the giant biotech corporation Monsanto.

Even before this report several countries had taken steps to stop the use of the herbicide Roundup and others have now begun to follow. These countries include Holland, Brazil, France and Colombia where Roundup is used to kill the coca plant in the war on drugs.

Holland was the first country to institute a ban. The Dutch parliament voted in April 2014 to ban all glyphosate-based herbicides including Roundup, from the end of 2015 and beyond, Brazil began its own efforts last year as well. In May of this year Colombia cancelled aerial spraying of crops with the herbicide. Brazil followed three days ago by banning over the counter sales of the product.

Even as these efforts intensify worldwide, Guyana is not yet worried.

Amichand told Stabroek News that “glyphosate is currently ranked as a class 4 pesticide; one of the least toxic, as such Guyana does not at this time see it necessary to address this specific chemical but we recognize that all pesticides have a negative effect which must be managed.”

He noted that in some countries that have taken steps to ban its use, there is a practice of cultivating crops that are genetically engineered to resist glyphosate. “They broadcast [widely spray] glyphosate using planes over a large space, we don’t,” he said.

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