Chemical approval extension work cited as key crop protection service

Horticulture Development Company technical manager Jim Dimmock told last week's food security event at Warwick Crop Centre that the levy body's work on securing continued use of crop protection products remains vital for the industry.

"Our levy payers grow more than 300 crops and supporting all of them can stretch our resources, but crop protection is a huge part of what we do," he said.

"We have pioneered extensions of authorisation for minor use (previously specific off-label approvals) since 1992, which have enabled vegetable growing to continue in this country. We also help maintain approval of off-patent chemicals, including those that cereal growers no longer use."

He added: "We gained 87 approvals in 2012, but at £1,700 an application, it's an expensive business. And we give bio-pesticides at least an equal chance.

But Philip Effingham of Greentech Consultancy said the industry remains deficient in bio-pesticides. "US growers have access to 477, in the Netherlands it's 79, in the UK it's 18. It's a disgraceful situation," he complained.

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