Jean Charles Bocquet, Director General of ECPA (European Crop Protection Association) – the Brussels-based trade association representing the manufacturers of agrochemicals in Europe talks to www.pickingalpha.com about the Food Safety and Crop Protection Industries. Currently they united their efforts to fight against illegal pesticides. As it occurred they cannot act without each other as Food Protection Industry boasts with an extensive experience in monitoring and control while Crop Protection Industry having over 65 years of research, product development and statistics collection provides from its side the expertise on pesticides quality and content.
Initial functions of the Food Safety Industry were mainly focused on hygienic guidelines and control in food preparation, handling and storage. Since those times it gradually has been acquiring new functions and even activities. So that today it has become a very diverse industry embracing food science, agriculture, chemical industry, police and military. Though one of the major goals of Food Safety still has stayed monitoring and control pesticide residues in food, crops and agricultural commodities. If a commodity that is about to enter the market is classified as the one with exceeded Maximum Residue Level, then it is strictly prohibited to enter the market. In most of the cases such failures result from the incorrect application of the crop protection product (pesticide) by the farmer, who would have to take his loss of the entire crop. In the early days of the pesticide industry this could never happen because of the lack of the adequate regulation and farmers were not properly trained to use the product correctly. Today after 65 years of research, farmer’s training and statistics collection behind industry’s back this strict control is a daily routine for majority of farmers in Europe and a number of developed countries.
The Crop Protection Industry is walking a fine line between an ongoing need to innovate and high entry barriers. In 2005 the cost to introduce the product to the market was $ 256 Mln, a highly unlikely solution for a regular scientific start up, so much larger players have to conduct this research and implement it on the market, spending millions of dollars in high risk investments. Many countries implement very strict guidelines for pesticides (crop protection products) while there is always an early stage formula or an untested formula or product available on the market that is being offered to the famers. These are the so called illegal pesticides (illegal crop protection products) that are sold at much lower prices by unknown producers.
This is where the former enemies – Crop Protection Industry and Food Safety Industry are becoming very strong partners in protecting the consumer from health damage, farmers from crop loss and fines. Food Safety Industry through the Governmental bodies takes advantage of the sophisticated scientific base of the Crop Protection Industry to stop the import of damaging products.