Registration of Endosulfan
cancelled in Australia
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
advises that it has cancelled the registration of the insecticide
endosulfan. This decision follows a recent assessment of newinformation by
the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and
Communities (DSEWPC) that the prolonged use of endosulfan is likely to lead
to adverse environmental effects via spray drift and run-off. A full risk
assessment conducted by DSEWPC concluded that these long term risks could
not be mitigated through restrictions on use or variations to label
In future, agricultural products containing endosulfan will no longer be
registered in Australia. The three current approvals for endosulfan have
also been cancelled, and the five products containing the chemical will be
phased out over the next two years.
This time period has been imposed because of the relatively limited amounts
of endosulfan in use and is in line with phase-out periods imposed by other
national regulators who have similarly taken recent action against
Risks to human health were not a factor in the APVMA decision. While recent
and emerging toxicological data were assessed by the Office of Chemical
Safety and Environmental Health, it has been determined that the current
regulatory regime has been effective in managing these risks.
Some of the new environmental data on which the APVMA's decision is
based emerged following the recent nomination of endosulfan to the Stockholm
Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
This nomination focussed more attention on endosulfan and produced a large
volume of new information on itsenvironmental fate and effects.
Mobile phones to help Filipino farmers
Farmers will soon be able to have tailored advice delivered to their mobile
phone Rice farmers in the Philippines will soon be able to access tailored
advice direct from their mobile phones on the amounts and timings of
fertiliser applications for their specific fields. Set up by the Philippine
Department of Agriculture and the International Rice Research Institute
(IRRI), the service is designed to help farmers maximise their output.
Bringing precision agriculture with IT to smallscale farmers can open up
opportunities for farmers to obtain a fertilizer recommendation via a text
message and then use their phones to access suppliers of the fertilizer and
financing options to purchase it, explains Dr. Roland Buresh from IRRI.
To receive the free text message in their own language with recommendations
on what type of fertiliser to use, how much, and when, farmers will simply
have to phone a central number and answer a series of automated questions
about their rice field and the growing conditions.
Nutrient management decision tools to provide fieldspecific recommendations
for rice, wheat and maize are also now under development. Information
technology and mobile phone applications could change the role of extension
workers, Buresh adds. In the future, they could become less of a technical
expert on a topic such as nutrient management and more of anexpert on where
and how to access information.
Pesticide manufacturers body against ban on Endosulfan
The Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI)
has alleged that themove by the European Union (EU) to push for a global ban
on Endosulfan - a broad-spectrum pesticide active ingredient - was
intended at benefiting the European crop protection industry.
Though the EU region accounts for only 8 per cent of the world's
agricultural land, it is a world leader in chemical and pesticide trade.
However, its stake in the global Endosulfan market has reduced drastically
over the years. Patented pesticides are being promoted by EU in recent years
in order to replace the demand for Endosulfan. There are concerted efforts
to manoeuvre trade through international conventions and trade restrictive
practices, PMFAI president Pradip Dave, said. The global crop protection
industry is worth $40 billion and the top three companies alone account for
over 50 per cent of this market. All these three companies, Dave said, were
The EU has been pushing for a global ban on Endosulfan by proposing to list
it in the Stockholm Convention as a persistent organic pollutant (a toxic
substance that is not biodegradable and persists in the environment). If
accepted, it would be against the interests of Indian farmers and farmers in
the developing world, he added.
Dave said in case of a ban, Indian cultivators, much like those in
developing nations, would be forced to purchase patented European pesticides
at very high prices.
Meeting held to discuss second generation anticoagulant resistance.
The Rodenticide Resistance Action Group (RRAG) met in London on 23 November
to discuss the ever-increasing problems posed by second generation
anticoagulant resistance in the UK.
Delegates at the meeting represented the entire cross-section of those
involved with the research, manufacture, sale and, most importantly, the
regulation of anticoagulant rodenticides in this county. RRAG chairman, Dr
Alan Buckle said: "In some areas of the country, due to anticoagulant
resistance, and the current UK regulatory policy, many organisations cannot
perform their statutory obligations to conduct effective rodent control to
safeguard human health."
In certain geographic areas in the UK where, because of resistance, the
control of rodents is proving impossible with the two most widely used
second generation anticoagulant rodenticides - difenacoum and
bromadiolone. In these areas, continued and prolonged use of these
rodenticides is not only ineffective, but also poses a significant and
unwarranted risk to wildlife. In short, in the view of RRAG, no practice
could be better conceived to exacerbate the severity and spread of
resistance. RRAG wishes to seek advice from the Health & Safety
Executive's (HSE) Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) on how to put
together a proposal for consideration by the Advisory Committee on
Pesticides (ACP) for the use of brodifacoum and flocoumafen ';in and
around buildings' in defined circumstances in the UK.
These proposals would be subject to three constraints: proof of resistance;
restricted application and proven competence of technicians applying baits.
In addition, this would be underpinned with intensive wildlife monitoring.
Pesticide Levels pose threat to Thai vegetable exports
Researchers are calling for reduction in the types of pesticides that can
be registered for use at local farms because of concerns the European Union
might ban Thai vegetable exports.
The sharp increase in pesticide use by Thai farmers has alarmed
One researcher said the Department of Agriculture also needed to impose a
complete ban on four hazardous chemicals still used in Thailand but not in
any developed country.
Rapichan Phurisamban of Biothai said the country's record of pesticide
use was worrying. Thailand imported 42,089 tonnes of pesticides in 1997 but
that figure had risen to 137,594 tonnes in 2009.
Food and Agriculture Organisation figures for 2007 shown Thailand had
27,126 agricultural chemical brands registered for use - more than
China (20,000), 9 AGROLOOK JAN-MARCH 2011 Vietnam (1,743), Indonesia
(1,158), Malaysia (917), Burma(818) and Laos (100) combined.
"It is not only that the country is consuming a massive amount of
chemicals, we have also found that farmers still use agricultural chemicals
that have been banned in many countries," Ms. Rapichan said.
They are carbofuran, dicrotophos, methomyl and EPN. "The department
should urgently ban these hazardous chemicals in line with international
practice." The present list of pesticides approved for use should also
be reduced. The list of pesticides approved for use is due to expire in
The EU recently found prohibited chemicals in imported vegetables including
basil, chili, Chinese bitter cucumber and bean. Fears of a possible EU ban
on Thai vegetables has prompted the government to order a temporary
suspension of shipments.
Dr. Pattapong Kessomboon of the Department of Community Medicine at Khon
Kaen University expressed concern over the government's alleged
ignorance of the uncontrolled use of dangerous chemicals, on vegetables.
"We were warned about chemical contaminated vegetables 26 times in
2009 and up to 55 times last year," said Dr Pattapong, a member of the
Thailand Pesticide Network.
"But there has been no quick response from the state agencies
concerned. We expect the EU to ban our vegetable exports soon."
He said chemical and pesticide use on vegetables had led to serious health
problems including cancer.
Department of Agriculture director General Jirakorn Kosaisevi insisted
yesterday the state's control on chemicals were on the right track.
Brazil leads world growth in biotech crop acreage
Washington, D.C. Biotech crop acreage grew another 10 percent last year
worldwide, driven in part by strong growth in Brazil, where farmers have
been rapidly switching to genetically engineered varieties of corn and
soybeans, according to a study.
Total acreage of genetically engineered crops reached 365 million in 2010,
an increase of more than 30 million. Brazil led all countries in growth by
adding 10 million acres, a 19 percent increase.
The United States added 7 million acres and still dominates total biotech
acreage with 165 million - mostly corn, soybeans and cotton - and accounts
for 45 percent of the global total. By comparison, U.S. farmers planted
about 316 million acres of grain, cotton and all other major crops in 2010.
U.S. farmers will have an additional biotech crop on the market this year,
as they plant biotech alfalfa again after commercialization had been stalled
for several years by a court battle.
But Brazil is likely to be a growth market for the biotech industry for
years to come, said Clive James, chairman of the organization that does the
survey, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech
Brazil, which ranks No. 2 in total biotech acreage, has approved 27 biotech
crop varieties so far, eight in 2010 alone, including four varieties of
corn. Researchers are working on additional products, including
virus-resistant beans, and also are working on improvements to sugarcane,
which is the major feedstock there for fuel ethanol.
"What they hope to do is to exert leadership in Latin America by
sharing that technology," said James. Pioneer Hi-Bred, a Johnston-based
unit of DuPont, is seeing fast growth in sales of insect-resistant corn in
Brazil. Last year, 65 percent of its corn seed sold there was biotech, up
from 43 percent in 2009. This year, the biotech share could reach 80 to 85
percent, said spokeswoman Lisa Dry.
Three additional countries grew biotech crops commercially for the first
time in 2010, bringing the global total to 29: Pakistan, Myanmar and Sweden.
Some 600,000 farmers in Pakistan and 375,000 in Myanmar planted an
insect-resistant cotton. In Sweden, some farmers planted a biotech potato
approved for industrial and feed use.