CropLife America (CLA) president and CEO Jay Vroom addressed companies and associations from the crop protection and biotechnology sectors during CropLife Asia's annual general meeting. In his remarks, Vroom asked meeting attendees from around Asia to come together under a new global approach developed by CropLife International (CLI) offering guidance related to both endocrine disruption and pollinator health issues.
"Issues tied to both pollinator health and endocrine disruption have truly become international in scope and require a more globally harmonized approach," Vroom said.
He noted active planning is underway by CLI teams in order to provide for more harmonized, scientific information; a stronger approach to research; and further refinement of educational best practices for member associations and companies worldwide. "Our ability to use similar information with governments and media around the world will greatly support our goal of ensuring that worldwide regulators have the information they require to do their important work," Vroom added.
Vroom noted that these two regulatory issues are becoming more international in part due to the expansion of trade in both treated agricultural produce and crop technologies. He said, "We are seeing agriculture become more trade-dependent, and with the prospects of even more free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, there is a great need for more harmony in the regulation of crop production technologies. The ability of Asian nations to communicate with U.S. and EU authorities about the importance of science-based risk assessments for pesticide regulations is vital."
A CLA-commissioned report released in November 2013, "Potential Trade Effects on U.S. Agricultural Exports of European Union Regulations on Endocrine Disruptors," further emphasizes the need for greater international regulatory coherence as it impacts agricultural trade. The report estimates that EU regulations on crop protection products classified as endocrine disruptors have the potential to negatively impact 40 percent, or more than $4 billion, of agricultural commodity exports from the U.S.
Stewardship programs contribute to the prospect of more reasonable regulations and trade enhancements, Vroom said at the conclusion of his address. He described the success of the "Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship," developed by CLA and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). The stewardship guide provides farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for effectively managing treated seeds to minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms, including pollinators.
"Due to the perception in the U.S. that treated seeds may contribute to pollinator health issues, CLA and ASTA jointly undertook this stewardship education effort, along with seed industry counterparts, to help remind farmers and other seed handlers of simple steps that will protect pollinators. Reducing inadvertent dust and properly handling used seed bags are two simple stewardship steps that can add safety protections," Vroom observed.
For more information and resources on crop protection industry efforts to protect pollinator health, visit http://www.croplifeamerica.org/pesticide-issues/protecting-our-pollinators.