Thursday, January 17, 2019

Take steps to secure pesticides ahead of Brexit

January 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

Agrochemical distributors and manufacturers are making plans to ensure the seamless supply of sprays and other products continues after the UK leaves the EU this spring.

The impact of Brexit on access to crop protection products featured prominently at this year’s British Crop Protection Council congress, with speakers covering a range of policy and practical implications – and opportunities.

With any deal, common rules and EU will initially continue to apply to the UK, said Dave Bench, of the Health and Safety Executive. An economic partnership would then be established – including alignment with EU regulations on agri-food inputs and outputs.

No-deal Brexit

In a no-deal situation, Mr Bench said EU regulations would be converted into UK law, with deficiencies addressed by statutory instruments to ensure regulations could operate in the UK. Product approvals would retain their current expiry dates, he added.

Some companies have already put in place contingency plans to deal with Brexit – whatever the eventuality. This includes storing additional supplies in the UK to ensure they are readily available when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March.

Bayer CropScience, for example, does not own any UK agrichemical manufacturing facilities. But the some active ingredients are manufactured here on its behalf before being formulated and packaged abroad before being re-imported into the UK for use by British farmers.

Bayer says it has put contingency measures in place to deal with a no-deal Brexit. This three-pronged approach includes additional pallet storage for Bayer products, bringing in product lines earlier and continuing to discuss plans with distributors.

Risk analysis

NFU crop protection adviser Chris Hartfield said Brexit was an opportunity for the UK to have less precautionary policies and adopt a science-based risk analysis. The UK could then become a test-bed for agricultural innovation, with approvals granted ahead of the EU, he claimed.

More immediately, the NFU says farmers who use less commonly available agrochemical products should take steps to ensure that their needs will still be met after Brexit.

This should include contacting suppliers to find out if the chemical in question has been pre-registered or registered by whoever makes or imports it – and that any intended uses are or will be covered by the registration.

“It’s possible some companies, for business reasons, may decide not to register some chemicals,” says the NFU. “In this case you may need to find an alternative manufacturer or importer – or even re-think your processes.”

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