The Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) asked for public comments on the proposed draft regulation for agricultural remedies in August 2021.
The proposed changes suggested more stringent requirements for the registration of pesticides and chemicals harmful to the environment but failed to accommodate a less stringent protocol for biological remedies suitable in organic farming, which meant:
- Organic inputs are not recognised for use.
- Organic inputs are not permissible without stringent safety testing.
- The proposed regulation will make it more difficult and costly for producers of organic remedies.
Approved inputs for organic farming
There are internationally recognised and approved inputs that have been proven efficacious and safe in organic agriculture. Organic ingredients tabled in the EU Organic Regulations, the SANS:1369 and the SAOSO standard are permissible without the need for stringent safety testing.
DALRRD’s own Pesticide Management Policy talks of “sustainable pest management” with disincentives (levies) on damaging pesticides to encourage the use of eco-friendly alternatives. This is designed to make non-chemical and low risk chemical methods, and biopesticides meant for organic farming more competitive. This is not being considered in this proposed new regulation.
The proposal fails producers farming sustainably
By not allowing the registration of organic agricultural inputs the Minister is failing those farmers and producers who are seeking more sustainable ways to produce our food through organic agroecological systems which mitigate pollution and ecological degradation, sequester carbon, and ensure the health of the people.
SAOSO and the sector is requesting agrichemical policy reform
SAOSO asked for support from organisations in the sector to apply pressure to the Minister and lobby for the registration of organic agricultural inputs in this update to Act 36.
Organisations adding their voice to the issue are helping to ensure that a key part of our organic agroecological food production system is enabled, allowing the sector to continue to grow.