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New Zealand Is World-leading In Agrichemical Management

As a leader of sustainable food production, the agrichemical industry will continue to collaborate with the government to safely manage agrichemicals in the environment, following a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, released today.

Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross says, “we’re confident that the measures for managing and using agrichemicals and veterinary medicines are robust and support our environmental outcomes.”

Our industry aims to play a central role in collaborating with government and farming communities to support positive outcomes for our primary sector and environment - and is open to sharing knowledge and innovation to continually improve them.

“The safe and effective use of these tools can protect our environment from invasive weeds, disease and imported pests while providing food security and economic growth,” says Ross.

They increase agricultural productivity by maximising yields and avoiding losses, as well as reducing tillage and its adverse effects on the environment. This reduces the need to acquire more land for farming and keeps food costs from escalating.

The stewardship programmes we have in place - from manufacture through to disposal - restrict and manage the impact of chemicals on the environment. These include Good Manufacture Practice, sprayer training programmes for farmers and growers through Growsafe and the disposal and recycling programmes through Agrecovery.

The ‘Regulating the Environmental Fate of Chemicals’ report asks how well our regulatory system understands the environmental fate of chemicals, including agrichemicals such as neonicotinoids, terbuthylazine, Zinc bacitracin (antibiotics mainly used for poultry) and tetracycline antibiotics used in veterinary medicine applications.

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Regular national surveys of neonicotinoids and other pesticides in over 270 groundwater sites assures us that our environment and drinking water are safe, with results from all sites at levels far below the Maximum Accepted Value.

New Zealand is also one of the lowest global users of antibiotics in livestock, with industry actively working to reduce this further.

Latest findings by the Ministry for Primary Industries show a decline in antibiotic sales for farming of 10.8% since 2018, continuing a downward trend that started the year prior. Antibiotics treat outbreaks caused by environmental conditions and disease pressures beyond the control of other management options, so remain essential for maintaining animal health and welfare when necessary.

We already have strong stewardship of agrichemicals in New Zealand. If the Commissioner’s recommendations identify areas for development that are realistic, then we will look at solutions for ensuring food security and the safe management of our environment.

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