Glyphosate ban would cost British farmers almost £1billion a year
Worrying new figures released today by leading economic research house Oxford Economics and agriculture specialists The Andersons Centre, in partnership with the Crop Protection Association, show the potentially devastating impact of a ban of common herbicides to the British economy and the agricultural sector.

A ban by the European Union on herbicides containing glyphosate could have several harmful economic consequences, it would:

  • Lead to a reduction in farm output of £940 million
  • Reduce tax revenues generated by agriculture and its supply chain by £193 million, equivalent to the annual salaries of over 7,000 nurses.
  • See wheat production fall by 20%
  • An EU wide ban could even push up food prices.

Glyphosate is an active substance in the production of herbicides, and has been safely used by the majority of British farmers for weed control over the past 40 years. Use of glyphosate has facilitated faster preparation of land prior to planting, increased the number of crop rotations possible, and led to higher yields than other weed management options. It is key to the agricultural sector, without it modern British farming as we know it could disappear.

The European Union routinely reviews active ingredients in pesticides and member states could ban glyphosate by the end of 2017, despite the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence proving glyphosate is safe.*

Ian Mulheirn, Director of Consulting, Oxford Economics, commented:

“Our report’s findings are very clear, a glyphosate ban will negatively impact UK GDP and agriculture, at a time of real uncertainty for British farmers.

If glyphosate was not approved for use in the UK but remained available in the rest of the world, this would place domestic production at a considerable disadvantage. An EU-wide ban could even push up food prices for consumers. 

Farmer Andrew Ward responded to the findings:

“The report reveals what we have long feared, a glyphosate ban would reduce yields for some key crops and push up our costs. This could tip struggling farms over the edge. Reckless politics by the EU is threatening to put British farmers out of business.”

A ban would also be really bad for the environment. We’d have to use bigger vehicles and do more ploughing which would mean greater carbon emissions and less biodiversity.”

Sarah Mukherjee, Chief Executive, Crop Protection Association, commented:

“The debate around the use of glyphosate is more about politics than science. Glyphosate is and always has been safe, with over 40 years of robust scientific evidence showing no risk to safety. Clearly the UK government should continue to champion a science-led approach to decision making in Europe and vote to renew glyphosate’s licence. Failure to do so risks damaging the economy, the environment and the agricultural sector.”


Notes for Editors

* 28 global regulators have approved it for use, and the European Chemicals Agency who advise the EU on chemical legislation recently confirmed that it is not a carcinogen  See:

The report is available via the publications section of the CPA website.

The Crop Protection Association commissioned Oxford Economics and the Andersons Centre to make an independent assessment of the potential economic impact of a ban on glyphosate.

Crop Protection Association

The Crop Protection Association (CPA) is a key voice of the UK Plant Science Industry. We promote the role of modern plant science in safeguarding our food supply from seed to shelf. Our members are involved in the development and manufacture of a wide range of plant science technologies which are of crucial importance to the cultivation and protection of food crops, protecting our gardens, woodlands, infrastructure and public places.

Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics was founded in 1981 as a commercial venture with Oxford University’s business college to provide economic forecasting and modelling to UK companies and financial institutions expanding abroad. Since then, we have become one of the world’s foremost independent global advisory firms, providing reports, forecasts and analytical tools on 200 countries, 100 industrial sectors and over 3,000 cities. Our best-of-class global economic and industry models and analytical tools give us an unparalleled ability to forecast external market trends and assess their economic, social and business impact.

Headquartered in Oxford, England, with regional centres in London, New York, and Singapore, Oxford Economics has offices across the globe in Belfast, Chicago, Dubai, Miami, Milan, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. We employ over 230 full-time people, including more than 150 professional economists, industry experts and business editors—one of the largest teams of macroeconomists and thought leadership specialists. Our global team is highly skilled in a full range of research techniques and thought leadership capabilities, from econometric modelling, scenario framing, and economic impact analysis to market surveys, case studies, expert panels, and web analytics. Underpinning our in-house expertise is a contributor network of over 500 economists, analysts and journalists around the world.

Oxford Economics is a key adviser to corporate, financial and government decision-makers and thought leaders. Our worldwide client base now comprises over 1000 international organisations, including leading multinational companies and financial institutions; key government bodies and trade associations; and top universities, consultancies, and think tanks.

The Andersons Centre

The Andersons Centre provides top quality advice and business information to the agricultural, rural and food sectors. Our aim is to deliver practical solutions that are technically, financially and strategically sound and help business progress. As well as providing agricultural consultancy and farm business advice, The Andersons Centre also works with companies trading with farmers, the Public Sector and other rural professionals.

The Andersons Centre experienced research team is proud of its ability to understand the implications of policy, including the latest information on CAP Reform. It produces a number of regular bulletins, ad hoc information and edits two agricultural costings books.

The Andersons Centre is a partnership based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.  Farm and rural business consultancy is delivered throughout England and Wales. Agri-Business Research, Agri-Industry and Public Sector work is performed throughout Great Britain.

April 2017

All data shown in tables and charts are Oxford Economics’ own data, except where otherwise stated and cited in footnotes, and are copyright © Oxford Economics Ltd.

The modelling and results presented here are based on information provided by third parties, upon which Oxford Economics has relied in producing its report and forecasts in good faith. Any subsequent revision or update of those data will affect the assessments and projections shown.

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