Today’s extraordinary decision by the Environmental Risk Management Authority to immediately ban endosulfan has left the horticulture industry wondering what more it can do to work with the agency.
Horticulture New Zealand is disappointed ERMA has taken the drastic option to totally ban the agrichemical on January 16.
This gives growers just over a month to come up with alternatives.
“We expected a timeframe measured in years not days,” HortNZ CEO Peter Silcock says.
“HortNZ’s submission to ERMA was, we thought, well received and the implications for industry were
understood by the Authority. We supported the withdrawal, but needed time to make it work.
“We asked for a phase out period of five years, so a handful of industry sectors could find sensible
alternative products to use. In a couple of cases there are no alternative products.
“In particular the citrus and tomato industries are now going to be under huge pressure.”
HortNZ is not opposed to the phasing out of the agrichemical and many parts of the industry have
already moved away from using it.
“We have extremely robust systems in place in this country to ensure consumer and user safety, like
horticulture’s own New Zealand GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) programme, to make sure these
products are used responsibly.”
Most growers use “integrated pest management” (IPM) systems that minimise the use of
agrichemicals and use non-chemical controls where they are available.
Endosulfan has been used in New Zealand for 40 years. It is used on a variety of crops, but usually
only when no other alternatives exist, and only once or twice in a growing season, at the most.
“No endosulfan makes some pests extremely difficult to control, meaning reduced yields and quality,
and that means growers not making money, less work for their employees and a financial impact on
rural communities,” Peter says.