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need for ‘minor use’ registration

Process helps give growers access to pesticides that otherwise would not be registered.

By Tamara Leigh I

t’s neither fast nor perfect, but the process for minor use pesticide registrations is getting new tools on the market to help growers protect their crops.

“We have a tremendous number of different pests in horticulture. It doesn’t get easier, there are more introduced all the time and other potential threats we need to be prepared for,” says Mark Sweeney, berry specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. “Pesticides are key tools in managing these pests.” A ‘minor use’ describes a pesticide registration for which the anticipated volume of sales is not high enough for a manufacturer to justify the costs to register and sell the product in Canada. For the berry sector and other crops in Canada, the only way to get access to new pesticides is through the minor use registration process.

Two programs allow growers and others to apply to register: the User Requested Minor Use Label Expansion, and the User Requested Minor Use Registration. Both processes require that the proposal be supported or put forward to the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) by a producer or user group before it is evaluated and a decision is made.

PMRA runs the process, but identifying the priorities and preparing the submissions for minor use products is done through Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada’s (AAFC) Pest Management Centre in Ottawa. In March of each year, provinces and other stakeholders meet to decide which minor use projects AAFC will work on. AAFC will prepare the submission, and generate requested data for PMRA. Alf Krause has been a grower representative on behalf the B.C. berry sector at the annual priority setting meeting since the PMC process began. He has seen the process develop and improve as a result of the ongoing relationships between growers,

government and the chemical companies.

“Grower representation gives validity to the whole program, in that we are trying to deal with actual issues that we are having on the farm,” says Krause. “In the beginning we doubted it would give us much support, but as years have gone by, they have fine tuned the

with chemical companies and the PMC and have roundtable right there,” say Krause.

There is funding to do the work in the field. PMC has a budget for 35 projects for residue and efficacy of what the growers identify for the year. The money doesn’t go to the company, but helps it fulfill requirements for PMRA registration.

“The minor use program makes it more affordable for someone to get a product on the market,” Krause explains. “When a chemical company looks at the market share, it is never going to be big enough for them to do all the trials, but if the growers and the PMC put it on their lists, then it’s a win- win. The growers to get another tool, and the chemical companies gain a market.”

Alf Krause

process and it have become very useful for growers.”

One of the strengths of the process is the ability to get the regulatory agencies, chemical companies and producers together in the same space to talk about issues and identify possible solutions. “When we are at these meetings we can voice an issue and talk to the chemical reps, and they can tell us if they have a product that will work or not. Then we can get PMRA together

14 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2014

This year four products for the BC berry industry made the priority list for trials and evaluation, and three products completed the process and were registered. The process is not quick, taking at least two to three

years from request to registration, and in some cases much longer. It’s a challenge for growers who are dealing with increasing pressure from new pests.

“We end up using emergency registrations when we have gaps. Spotted winged drosophila treatments have been going on emergencies for four years because the process takes time,” says Sweeney. “We can’t do emergencies on everything.

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