Organic farming activists opposed to a controversial weed killer and the use of genetically modified crops will march down Valletta next week as part of a global protest movement.
Activists all across the world will take part in 21 May's March Against Monsanto, with the aim of raising awareness about the multinational's business practices and lobbying in favour of GMOs and weed killer glyphosate.
Malta's march is being organised by the Clean Food Movement. The movement is calling on the government to oppose an extension of glyphosate's EU license.
Glyphosate, most commonly known through its brand name Round-Up, is one of the world's most common herbicides. The WHO has said that it is "probably carcinogenic", although the link has not yet been definitively proven.
MEPs voted to restrict glyphosate use, including at the pre-harvest stage, last month. But European Commission documents have revealed that it favours extending glyphosate's license for a further 15 years.
France, Sweden and Italy oppose extending glyphosate's license, and more than 1.4 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling for the chemical to be banned.
Environmentalists have said the Commission's position runs against the EU's precautionary principle, which calls for regulatory caution if there is any scientific doubt.
Malta's position remains unclear, with an Environment Ministry spokesperson saying last March that discussions remained ongoing. Maltese MEPs all voted in favour of the EP position to approve glyphosate but restrict its use, except for Labour MEP Miriam Dalli who sat out the vote.
A 2013 study by Friends of the Earth found that Maltese had the highest incidence of glyphosate in their bodies out of all countries surveyed. Nine out out every 10 urine samples taken tested positive for the chemical.
Monsanto is one of the world's largest agrochemical corporations, with revenues topping $15 billion in 2015. It has long been the target of activists' ire, with its methods of promoting GMOs in Latin America and India coming under particular scrutiny.
The March Against Monsanto will take place on Saturday 21 May at 10am.
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