News and Views

Government commended for improving farmer access to crucial agvet chemical products

CropLife Australia warmly welcomed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon Barnaby Joyce’s announcement of an initiative to further improve Australian farmers’ access to crucial crop protection products.

The Government is commended for supporting the fast-tracking of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemical products with the announcement of $1.6 million allocated to research grants and a further $2.4 million in a second round of funding open for applications under the ‘Improved Access to Agvet Chemicals’ initiative.

Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of the national peak organisation for Australia’s plant science sector, CropLife Australia, said “the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP is to be applauded for his work in ensuring Australian farmers have access to the tools and products essential to remaining competitive in a challenging global agricultural industry while meeting the food security challenges of the future.”

“A regulation generated market failure in the delivery of crop protection products exists because the cost of regulating a crop protection product in Australia is the same on a dollar basis as it is in the United States, yet the market here is one tenth the size. The regulation of agricultural chemicals must be commensurate with risk and this funding goes some way to correcting the number of inconsistencies in the regulatory environment,” said Mr Cossey.

“The Government’s initial four-year $8 million investment in the ‘Improved Access to Agvet Chemicals’ initiative in 2013 was an important and responsible decision. The Government’s announcement of increased grant caps, from $50,000 to $100,000, to provide permanent access to uses of a registered chemical available through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) will also help to enable more environmentally friendly pest management practices.”

“The Minor Use and Specialty Crops program is crucial to the nation’s agricultural productivity and our international competitiveness. A lack of pest and weed control options has a number of consequences, including acting as a barrier to the development of new agricultural industries,” said Mr Cossey.

“In addition to the hundreds of major commodity farmers whose crops are susceptible to minor pests and diseases that are not significant enough to warrant control technologies or label extensions, a number of agriculture’s smaller sectors could benefit from the Government’s grants announced. Horticultural crops, in particular, face challenges as the smaller areas under production often make it uneconomic for registration of chemical products. These grants will be a significant help to Australian agriculture by increasing its productivity and diversity.”

“The small size of Australia’s crop protection product market on a global comparison means that the implementation of this initiative is vital so that Australian agriculture is assured access to innovations from the plant science industry and their full range of uses.”

“The plant science industry and I applaud Minister Joyce and the Government for its work in ensuring the funds go into achieving real outcomes and getting value from the funding,” concluded Mr Cossey.

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