As the EU considers extending its approval for the weed-killer, African researchers highlight safety concerns.

African researchers have intervened in a controversial debate involving scientists and decision-makers around concerns that the agricultural chemical glyphosate might be carcinogenic, and have called for the precautionary principle to be applied.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient of Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world. According to a study conducted by the statistics company Statista, global consumption of glyphosate rose from 56.3 million kilograms in 1994 to 825.8 million kilograms in 2014.

The compound is often used on African farms under the trade name Roundup.

A study that assessed the value of glyphosate in the South African agricultural sector with a focus on the 2012/3013 season, concluded it was the country’s most used herbicide and found that in 2012, over 23 million litres of glyphosate were sold at an estimated value of 641 million rand (approximately US$ 47 million).