Improved access to chemicals

The small size of the Australian market can make the costs involved with registering an agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemical or its use in Australia uncommercial. This is particularly the case for treating pests and diseases in specialty crops and minor livestock species. Larger industries face a similar problem managing uncommon or emerging pests and diseases.

With funding from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the Department), we’re working with grower groups, rural research and development corporations and the chemical industry to improve access for farmers to agvet chemicals.

Our work includes:

  • establishing an official Australian list of crop groupings and associated guidance
  • examining current Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) permits to determine suitable candidates for migration from permit to product label (registration).

Crop groupings

We’re developing a crop grouping scheme to simplify the registration for minor use chemicals used on crops.

Grouping crops enables the data generated from a subset of crops to be used as a representative crop for the assessment of other similar types of crops.

This will improve access to agricultural chemicals for growers of minor crops as it will remove the requirement to seek a minor use permit for those included as part of a crop group. It will also mean less data and assessment requirements for those crops as the work would have already been done as part of assessing the representative crop.

The first phase, now complete, involved developing a list of crops and classifying them into crop groups in consultation with interested stakeholders.

Current work

We’re currently working on the second phase of the project, to:

  • identify representative crops from each group which can be used to generate standard data for safety, efficacy and trade criteria
  • review and update our data guidelines to incorporate crop grouping and principles for their use.

Migrating permits to labels

As permits are only for a limited duration, it means that permit holders must periodically apply to us to have them renewed. Sometimes this also requires that they submit us new data with the application, taking up a considerable amount of time and resources for everyone involved.

We’re looking to simplify this process by migrating certain existing permits issued in crops and livestock species to product labels. This would improve access to chemicals by:

  • eliminating the need for some existing permits
  • reducing future demand for permits
  • providing greatest access to a use (listed on the label of the product).

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