Guide shows importance of pesticides

The national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, CropLife Australia, has launched The official Australian reference guide for organic, synthetic and biological pesticides to ensure better informed and fact-based discussions about the regulation and essential role of pesticides in agriculture, environmental management and human health.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, officially launched the guide at an event at Parliament House as part of ‘Science meets Parliament’. The launch took place before an audience of agriculture, science and industry leaders and several federal parliamentarians and public policy specialists.

CEO of Science and Technology Australia, Misha Schubert, addressed attendees on the importance of effectively communicating science, while CEO of CropLife Australia, Matthew Cossey, outlined the content of the impressively illustrated 58-page guide.

Mr Cossey said the innovations of the plant science industry were at the centre of the ‘third agricultural revolution’ and it will again be the innovations of the plant science industry that will be at the core of the fourth agricultural revolution.

“That is what Australia needs to achieve another leap in production and enable farming to become even more environmentally sustainable,” he said. “Access to new modern pesticides is crucial for Australia to meet its food production goals and aspirations, protect the natural environment from invasive species and safeguard human health from disease-spreading pests, and harmful crop and produce funguses.

“The world needs to produce as much food over the next 50 years as we have since the beginning of humanity tens of thousands of years ago. That is a staggering challenge requiring a massive effort from the entire agricultural sector. Farmers will need access to all and every safe tool, product and innovation to do it, especially pesticides – be they organic, synthetic, or biologically based.

“In Australia, like the rest of the developed world, food has never been safer and never has there been such variety of produce available to consumers. Still, though, there exists a peak interest in food amongst growing urban populations which correlates with a peak ignorance in how food is produced and farming generally.

“Pesticides have had a hugely positive impact on global food production, yet there remains a serious lack of understanding about their safety and importance, not just to farming but to the protection and restoration of our natural environment and human health.”

Mr Cossey said that without pesticides the world would lose up to 50 per cent of crucial food crops, devastating global food supply.

“Australia’s agriculture sector continues to grow with confidence in the knowledge that advanced crop protection technologies will continue to successfully manage the dynamic, evolving and ever-challenging pest risks that farmers face now and will face into the future”, Mr Cossey said.

The official Australian reference guide for organic, synthetic and biological pesticides will help consumers understand the essential role pesticides play in not only agriculture, but also in environmental conservation and human health.

A copy of the guide is available from the CropLife website.

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