South America Calling

Brazil Looks to Accelerate Ag Chemical Approvals

The big downside to tropical farming in Brazil's Cerrado is the constant pressure from pests and disease.

Crop resistance is a perennial concern of grain farmers from Bahia to Mato Grosso do Sul and a recurring complaint is the slowness with which the Brazilian government in authorizing the use of new products.

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry is looking to change that, accelerating the approval process.

The government expects to approve 170 new ag chemicals in 2016, up around 20% from one year before, according to Julio Sergio de Britto, the Agriculture Ministry's agrochemicals coordinator.

He explained that the idea was to cut away the red tape involved in registering chemicals.

However, speaking at an ag chemical show in Sao Paulo, he admitted that the ministry's team and infrastructure is limited, which caps the speed with which products can be approved. A particular problem has been the recent layoffs at the ministry.

Among the steps taken to speed up the process is the introduction of special temporary registrations, which dispenses with the need for environmental and health approvals for testing products.

"We are already seeing the impact of measures like this," Britto told the AgrochemShow.

Britto estimates that 1,000 temporary registrations have been made in the last four months. Despite this, the list of ag chemicals waiting for approval has actually grown by 20% over the last year to around 1,200.

Back in 2012-13, the lack of effective chemicals was cited as a key reason for the devastation caused by the Helicoverpa caterpillar across soybean crops in the northeastern state of Bahia. The prohibition of Emamectin Benzoate, the principal chemical used against the caterpillar, initially caused consternation and then a rush of illicit imports from Paraguay.

(CZ)

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