Wet years prompt CFA demand for faster fungicide approvals

OTTAWA — Farmers dealing with several years of excessive moisture want Ottawa to fast-track the registration of generic fungicides that are more effective and cheaper than those available in Canada.

Norm Hall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said the increased moisture has led to more problems with diseases such as fusarium.

“We need a way to speed up the (Pest Management Regulatory Agency) acceptance of new chemistries coming into Canada,” he told federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture annual meeting.

“And the (Grower Requested Own Use program), that needs to be cleaned up as well so the Canadian arm of that same company doesn’t have veto power on bringing products across.”

Ritz said that is starting to happen under new regulatory co-operation efforts with the United States, but there is still more work to do.

Ritz said the Pest Management Regulatory Agency used to identify 15 products a year that it would “run through the hoops and hurdles” at a cost of up to $300,000 each.

“The problem is Canada is too small a market share for some of the major players,” he said.

“With this regulatory co-operation that we’re talking about now, once it’s registered in the U.S., we accept their science.”

However, Hall said the fungicides that cost $1 or $2 per acre in the U.S. cost Canadian farmers $15 per acre.

“We may be three percent of the market, but we’re probably five percent of the profit,” Hall said.

CFA delegates also want the federal government to change the Income Tax Act so that it’s easier to transfer the farm to family members. As well, they asked for a national clubroot strategy and that any fines paid by the railways for non-performance go into crop research.

Delegates also agreed that any money raised from retaliatory measures because of country-of-origin labelling in the United States should be invested back into the livestock sector.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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