Pesticides are a critical tool to help farmers around the world protect their crops, ensure their livelihoods and provide food to a growing population. But more must be done, by all stakeholders, to ensure the safe and responsible use of pesticides, especially highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) in low income countries (LICs).
CropLife International supports the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/ World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management (the Code) which calls for capacity-building of pesticide regulators and users in low income countries.
It also supports the Code’s approach to regulate pesticides based on their actual risks in use, rather than their hazardous properties. This approach prevents the restriction or banning of effective, useful products that benefit society by controlling pests that threaten crop yields and farmer livelihoods.
For farmers, the responsible use of effective crop protection products offers significant benefits, as long as the risk to human health and the environment is minimized to an acceptable level. Risk reduction – such as the use of personal protective equipment and maintenance and calibration of pesticide application equipment – is vital to ensure their safe and responsible use. If a risk assessment finds that risk management measures are insufficient to ensure pesticides can be handled without unacceptable risk to the operator and the environment in which they are used, they should be withdrawn from that market.
In support of this, CropLife International’s member companies recently conducted individual portfolio reviews, in parallel, evaluating their entire range of more than 6,400 crop protection products under a common approach. Any products meeting the FAO/WHO HHP criteria underwent a risk assessment based on local use conditions. Risk mitigation measures were evaluated and in certain specific situations where the risk remained too high, and couldn’t be managed through the proper implementation of enhanced risk mitigation measures, the product has been withdrawn from that market. CropLife International has also actively supported the FAO call for building capacity among regulators and users in low income countries.
CropLife International shares a common goal with the FAO, WHO and UN Environment Programme to promote safe, effective and responsible pesticide use around the world. The industry is also committed to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and sees it as an opportunity to improve the sustainable use and effective management of pesticides.
It must be recognized that the majority of HHPs in the developing world are produced and sold by companies that are not CropLife International members. CropLife International has led by example with its portfolio review and risk mitigation measures, but needs support from the FAO and others to engage with governments to help the local and generic pesticide industry address HHPs.
Read more in the blog: A Responsible Approach to Highly Hazardous Pesticides