More than 350 civil society organizations and 250 scientists call on the UN agency NOT to partner with CropLife International

November 19, 2020

Director-General Qu Dongyu
UN Food and Agriculture Organization
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy

Dear Director-General Qu Dongyu,

The 350 civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations from 63 countries listed below represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers and other communities, as well as human rights, faith-based, environmental and economic justice institutions. We are writing to express our deep concern over your stated plans to strengthen official ties with CropLife International. We strongly urge you to reconsider this alliance.

Deepening collaboration with CropLife, a trade association representing the interests of corporations which produce and promote dangerous pesticides, directly undermines FAO’s priority of minimising the harms of chemical pesticide use worldwide, “including the progressive ban of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs).” It also undermines the principles set out in FAO’s Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, and ties the agency with producers of harmful, unsustainable chemical technologies — relinquishing FAO’s role as a global leader supporting innovative approaches to agricultural production that promote the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, sustainability and resilience.

Reliance on hazardous pesticides is a short-term fix that undermines the rights to adequate food and health for present and future generations, as stated in the 2017 report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

A recent analysis of industry records documents that CropLife members, BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Syngenta, make more than one-third of their sales income from HHPs — the pesticides that are most harmful to human health and the environment. Their primary aim is to maximise sales of their products, irrespective of health and environmental harms, and whether or not these products are necessary or actually benefit farmers. FAO, in contrast, should aim to increase farmer access to practices and tools that help them grow their crops sustainably without harming their health.

In addition, CropLife member companies explicitly target developing and emerging countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia as expanding markets for their products, taking advantage of weak controls on registration and commercialization of pesticides. The proportion of their HHP sales is even higher in these countries, where safety regulations are often less robust, and harms to human health and the environment are greater.

The global pesticide corporations that make up CropLife are well known for aggressive marketing of HHPs that are responsible for a wide range of devastating health harms to farmers, farmworkers and rural families around the world. One recent systematic literature review (in press) found that a significant percentage of farmers around the world suffer unintentional acute pesticide poisoning every year. Farmers, agricultural workers and those in rural communities also suffer increased rates of certain types of cancer as well as reproductive, neurological and developmental disorders due to pesticide exposure. As recently highlighted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, pesticide products produced by CropLife member companies have also decimated pollinator populations and are wreaking havoc on biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. Some specific examples include:

These are just a few examples of the harmful impacts of the hundreds of products produced and promoted by the corporations that are members of CropLife International.

CropLife frequently asserts that it aims to provide “environmentally friendly” technology, through the genetically modified (GM) seeds that its member corporations also produce. A large proportion of these seeds, however, are engineered to be used in conjunction with proprietary chemical herbicides. These GM seeds are thus primarily a mechanism to boost associated chemical sales, and ensure continued profit from pesticides such as glyphosate and now (in response to glyphosate resistance in weeds) the highly drift-prone herbicides 2,4-D, dicamba and glufosinate. These technologies lock farmers into ever escalating use of pesticides, particularly when resistance develops.

An alliance with CropLife also undercuts your agency’s critical — and urgently needed — support for agroecology, an ecologically-based approach to farming which FAO itself notes “can support food production and food security and nutrition while restoring the ecosystem services and biodiversity that are essential for sustainable agriculture.”

In contrast, CropLife’s purpose is to advocate for use of its members’ products. These antiquated chemical solutions to pest control run directly counter to the urgently needed transition to innovative, knowledge-intensive ecological approaches that FAO has been supporting in recent years. Agroecological systems have proven to be economically viable across the globe, promote rather than harm human health, and are more “resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers” — the exact goals your agency recently highlighted on World Food Day.

We strongly urge you to reconsider and discontinue this deeply inappropriate alliance with CropLife.




Million Belay, General Coordinator
Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

David Azoulay, Environmental Health Program Director
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Ana Maria Suarez Franco, Executive Coordination Team
FIAN International

Kirtana Chandrasekaran and Martin Drago, Food Sovereignty Program Coordinators
Friends of the Earth International

Sophia Murphy, Executive Director
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)

Andrea Carmen, Executive Director
International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)

Pam Miller and Tadesse Amera, Co-Chairs
International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)

Sue Longley, General Secretary
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)

Kristin Schafer, Coordinator
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International

Laurent Gaberell, Agriculture and Food Expert
Public Eye

Chee Yoke Ling, Executive Director
Third World Network

On behalf of the undersigned civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations:

International & Regional Organizations
ETC Group
Food & Water Action Europe
Greenpeace International
Grupo de Trabajo Agroecología Política del Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO)
Health and Environment Justice Support
Indigenous Environmental Network
Oxfam International
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Africa
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North America
Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas de América Latina (RAPAL)
Sociedad Científica Latinoamericana de Agroecología (SOCLA)
United Confederation of Taíno People
Water Justice and Gender

Acción por la Biodiversidad
Cátedra Libre de Soberanía Alimentaria – Universidad Nacional de La Platad
Ecos de Saladillo
Global Catholic Climate Movement, Argentina Chapter
Grupo de Ecología del Paisaje y Medido Ambiente (GEPAMA), Universidad de Buenos Aires
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuria (INTA)
Los Caminos de la Agricultura
Naturaleza de Derechos
Pro Eco Grupo Ecologista – Asociación Civil
Taller Ecologista

National Toxics Network Australia

ÖBV – Via Campesina Austria

Environment Friends Society

Corporate Europe Observatory
Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

Jinukun / Fédéracion AgroEcologique Bénin
La Grande Puissance de Dieu
Organisation Béninoise pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture Biologique (OBEPAB)

Comunidad de Estudios Jaina

Aliança para Alimentação Saudável
Articulação Nacional de Agroecologia
Associação Brasielira de Agroecologia/aba-agroecologia
Associação Casa da Videira
Associação de Combate aos Poluentes
Brazilian Institute for Consumers Protection
Campanha Permanente contra os agrotóxicos e pela vida
Castilla Consultoria
Ciclovida – LifeCycle
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Socioambiental
Instituto de Bien Estar
Instituto Maniva
Lopez Fonzaghi FLC
Marcha Mundial por Justica Climática/Marcha Mundial do Clima
Movimento Nacional Contra Corrupção e pela Democracia
Movimento Urbano de Agroecologia
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra
Terra de Direitos
Toxisphera Environmental Health Association

Burkino Faso
Association Yelemani
Féderation Nationale des Organisations Paysannes
Terre A Vie

Research and Education Centre for Development (CREPD)
Front Africain pour le Défense de la Nature et de l’Homme

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
Climate Emergency Institute
Daraja Press
Food Systems Roundtable Waterloo Region
GE Free Comox Valley, British Columbia
Kids Right To Know
Lush Cosmetics
National Farmers Union
Nature’s Path Foods Inc.
No More GMOs – Toronto
Peas in a Pod Films
Safe Food Matters Inc.
Socio-Economic And Environmental Development Solutions (SEEDS)
Toronto Non-GMO Coalition
Vigilance OGM

Agrupación de pequeños regantes y no regantes del río Mostazal
Alianza por una Mejor Calidad de Vida
CAC Ovalle
Centro de Educación y Tecnología, Chiloé
Comité Socioambiental Coordinador Feminista 8M
Cooperativa La Cacerola
Cooperativa Semilla Austral
Exige Vivir Sano
Laboratorio de agroecología
Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales OLCA
Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales RADA
Red por la Defensa de los Territorios, RDT Araucania
Semilla austral
Valles en Movimiento

Asociación de Trabajo Interdisciplinario – ATI

Costa Rica
Agropecuaria Colibri

Democratic Republic of Congo
Front Commun pour la Protection de l’Environnement et des Espaces Protégés

Chaupi Molino
Fundación EkoRural
Naturaleza con Derechos
Que Rico Es Comer Sano y de Nuestra Tierra
Red de Guardianes de Semillas
Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos

El Salvador
El Salvadorian Center for Appropriate Technologies (CESTA FOE)

Ethiopian Society for Consumer Protection
PAN Ethiopia
PELUM Ethiopia

CCFD-Terre Solidaire
Coordination SUD
Engineers Without Borders – Agriculture and Food sovereignty
Générations Futures
Groupe de Recherches et d’Echanges Technologiques (GRET)
Justice Pesticides
La Maison de l’Artemisia
SOL, Alternatives Agroécologiques et Solidaires
Urgenci International CSA Network

Biological Farming Association Elkana

Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany
Coordination Gegen Bayer-Gefahren
German NGO Forum on Environment and Development
INKOTA  Netzwerk
México vía Berlín, e.V.
Partner Suedmexikos e.V.
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany
Starfish Organic
Umweltinstitut München e.V.

Abibinsroma Foundation
Food Sovereignty Ghana

International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI)
Movimiento Agroecologico de América Latina y el Caribe (MAELA)

Carbone Guinée

ASHA-Kisan Swaraj (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture)
Doctors for Food Safety and Biosafety 2) Initiative for Health & Equity in Society
Jagori Rural
Kalanjium Women Farmers Organisation
Living Farms
NavAnubhuti Welfare Society
Navdanya International
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India
Rasthria Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union
Salt Films
Society for Rural Education and Development
Sunray Harvesters
The Sahayak Trust
Women’s Collective

Migos MST Italia
Parma Sostenibile
Schola Campesin
Society for International Development
Society for New Initiatives and Activities (SONIA) for a Just New World

Ivory Coast
Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement

The Caribbean Poison Information Network

Consumers Union of Japan

Common Ground for Africa
Haki Nawiri Afrika

Agency for Development Initiatives (ADI)

Faith and Justice Network
Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment

Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (ASTM)
Cercle de Coopération des ONGD du Luxembourg
Natur and Emwelt a.s.b.l.
SOS Faim Luxembourg

Consumers’ Association of Penang
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth)
Sustainable Development Network Malaysia


Academia Mexicana de Derecho Ambiental
Asamblea de los Pueblos Indigenas por la Soberania Alimentaria A.C
Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC)
Campesinos en la Lucha Agraria SC de RL de CV
Casa Cem- Vias Verdes A.C.
Centro de Investigación Laboral y Asesoría Sindical (CILAS)
Fronteras Comunes
Grupo de Estudios Ambientales (GEA)
Maela Mexico
Observatorio Universitario de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional del Estado de Guanajuato
Red de Accion sobre Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas en méxico (RAPAM/ Pesticide Action Network Mexico)
Red de alternativas sustentables agropecuarias de Jalisco
Red Mexicana de Periodistas Ambientales
Via Organica

Coordinadora Ecologica Casablancaca

Alternactiva – Acção pela Emancipação Social
Justica Ambiental

Solidarity of South Asian Farmers and Producers
Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation)

Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF)

New Zealand
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Aotearoa

Health of Mother Earth Foundation

BERAS International Foundation

Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum

Sociedad Científica de Agroecología, Agricultura Familiar Campesina y Economía Solidaria (SOCAAFES)\
Sociedad de Estudios Rurales y Cultura Popular (SER)

ALSAKUY Agroecológica

Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group)
IFOAM Asia Inc
People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Philippines

Fédération des Agro-Pasteurs de Diender (FAPD)
Nous Sommes la Solution – Célébrons l’Agriculture familiale Africaine
Réseau National des Femmes Rurales du Sénégak

Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development

South Africa
African Centre for Biodiversity
Biological Systems Consulting & Research
Biowatch South Africa
Center for Integrated and Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET)
Ekogaia Foundation
GMO Poison Free Zones South Africa
Michael Hall Photography
PGS South Africa
Sustaining the Wild Coast
South African Organic Sector Organization (SAOSO)
Southern African Rural Women’s Assembly

Agroecosystems History Lab

Bread for all
Landwirtschaft mit Zukunft/Agriculture du futur
Solidar Suisse
Swiss Technology Production

Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO)

Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH)

Association de l’Education Environnementale pour les Futures Générations
Association Pour la Protection de l’Environnement et le Developpement Durable de Bizerte
Association Tunisienne d’Agricuilture Environmentale

Bio Vision Africa (BIVA)

Chemical Safety Agency

United Kingdom
AG Young & Sons
Banana Link
Bat Conservation Trust
Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill Alliance (CEE Bill)
Garden Organic, UK
GM Freeze
Organic Farmers & Growers CIC
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK
Soil Association
The Gaia Foundation

United States
Agroecology Fund
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Alliance for Natural Health
Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Toxics
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
Caribbean Agroecology Institute
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Food Safety
Center of Southwest Culture, Inc.
Chiron Communications – Deep Agroecology
Clean Power Lake County
Community Agroecology Network
Community Alliance for Global Justice
CR Research/Consulting
Crossroads Community Food Network
Data for Justice
Environmental & Public Health Consulting
Family Farm Defenders
Farm And Ranch Freedom Alliance
Farm Women United
Farmer and Cook
Farms Not Arms
Farmworker Association of Florida
Food & Water Action
Friends of the Earth U.S.
GMO Free USA/Toxin Free USA
Groundswell International
Hanover Co-op Food Stores of New Hampshire & Vermont
Informed Green Solutions
International Organic Inspectors Association
J Langevin Consulting
Kansas Rural Center
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Maryland Pesticide Education Network
Material Research L3C
Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance
Montana Organic Association
National Family Farm Coalition
National Organic Coalition
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nell Newman Foundation
Northeast Organic Farming Association-Interstate Council
Northeast Organic Farming Association, Mass. Chapter (NOFA/Mass)
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY)
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Organic Advocacy
Organic Consumers Association
Organic Seed Alliance
Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico, CLOC-LVC
People and Pollinators Action Network
Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe
Pollinate Minnesota
Pollinator Stewardship Council
Real Food Media
Regeneration International (RI)
Resilience Project
Salem Community Gardens
Schaghticoke First Nations
Science and Environmental Health Network
Seed the Commons
Straus Family Creamery
Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL)
The A Team Foundation
The Oakland Institute
Toxic Free NC
Transformations CDC
Tribal Link Foundation
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights
Vermont Farmers Food Center
Washington Biotechnology Action Council
Women’s Voices for the Earth
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Zigbone Farm Retreat

Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas de América Latina (RAPAL) Uruguay

Fundacion Aguaclara
Instituto para la Producción e Investigación de la Agricultura Tropical (IPIAT)

ReSCOPE Programme
Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity

Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute (NBI-Zimbabwe)
Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum