20 February 2013
The crop protection industry is concerned and disappointed that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has used limited, unrepresentative data and unsupportable assumptions to form the conclusions in its Global Chemicals Outlook, and Cost of Inaction reports.
The crop protection industry is urging UNEP to address these inaccuracies, and is calling for a thorough review and revision of the report.
Rather than engaging stakeholders to improve pesticide management, the UNEP has ignored industry concerns about the methodology used in their reports, which will only serve to drum up general fear about a broad range of chemicals that play a vital role in increasing food production and improving farmer livelihoods – chemicals that are perfectly safe when managed properly.
“The crop protection industry takes health issues very seriously,” stated Matthew Cossey, CEO of CropLife Australia. “The Global Chemicals Outlook and Cost of Inaction reports completely misrepresent the role and safety of crop protection products, and ultimately lack scientific validation.”
“The positive contributions of crop protection products have not been considered in the reports published by UNEP,” added Mr Cossey. “From improving health to reducing poverty and ensuring a secure global food supply, there are many other factors in this discussion that have been omitted.”
Training farmers on the responsible use of crop protection products is one of the highest priorities for the crop protection industry. Working with governments and NGO’s, the industry promotes the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices worldwide. Between 2005 and 2011, CropLife International funded programmes that directly trained almost two million people in the responsible use of crop protection products.
In Australia, Agsafe’s industry run programs have safely disposed of over 21 million chemical containers, removed around 350,000 Lt of unwanted chemical from the environment and continue to train over 2000 Australians each year in the safe use of agricultural chemicals. Industry programs are facilitated through a joint venture between CropLife Australia, National Farmers Federation, Animal Health Alliance Australia, Veterinary Manufacturers and Distributors Association the Australian Local Government Association.
Alongside its inaccuracies, the Global Chemicals Outlook and Cost of Inaction reports also ignore the positive contributions that crop protection products provide to improve public health by alleviating farmers from a variety of occupational diseases and health problems. For example, when used as vector control agents pesticides help to control malaria in rural and remote communities. Crop protection products also enable farmers to grow greater quantities of high quality food; allowing for higher incomes, reduced poverty and increased access to medical and educational services.
The crop protection industry is urging UNEP to address the many inaccuracies in the Global Chemicals Outlook report. In addition, the industry is calling for a thorough review and revision of the Cost of Inaction report, to ensure statistical and scientific validation of the data.
CropLife International has today offered again to work with UNEP in addressing these issues in this statement.