Many of the projects that AHDB Horticulture funds help to identify new crop protection products, so that growers have as wide range as possible of the most effective pest, disease and weed control options. As so many of the crops catered for by AHDB Horticulture's remit are considered ‘minor’ crops by agrochemical manufacturers, one way of securing the use of new products is through the Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use, or EAMU scheme.
To gain appropriate new EAMUs for the industry AHDB Horticulture invests staff time and finance on behalf of growers. Our crop protection team work full time on securing new approvals through the EAMU and other schemes. A key part of their work is to liaise with the industry, agrochemical manufacturers, biopesticide companies, the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) and a range of commodity groups across Europe and elsewhere to gather the information and safety data required for suitable candidate products. As well as pursuing approvals for new products that have performed well in AHDB Horticulture-funded trials, the team also work with Panel members and growers to find gaps in the crop protection armoury – using their knowledge of pending product withdrawals, built up through their network of contacts in the agrochemical industry and regulatory bodies, to predict likely future gaps.
The crop trials that are needed to generate the safety data to accompany an EAMU approval application carry a cost and are funded on behalf of the industry by AHDB Horticulture. In some cases the data is already available in another country, but even then we may have to pay a fee to use it in the UK.
Increasingly we collaborate with commodity groups in Europe to generate data which can be used both in the UK and in other countries within the same EU approval zone. In some instances this has resulted in a co-ordinated trials programme which avoids duplication of efforts and therefore reduces the costs for both AHDB Horticulture and our European counterparts. Data generated by us can, where appropriate, be sold or exchanged with these groups.
Work on identifying effective biopesticides and obtaining appropriate approvals for growers, is becoming increasingly important in our crop protection programme, alongside the work we already do with more familiar types of crop protection products.
Over the years AHDB Horticulture has delivered some particularly important new EAMUs – this involves exchanging information with countries more experienced in dealing with and controlling newly arrived pests and diseases, as well as regular meetings and discussions with CRD to ensure new submissions for EAMUs are treated with the urgency that the industry requires.
Growers and grower groups who have any concerns about pending losses of crop protection products should contact us to discuss how we might be able to help find suitable solutions. The crop Protection team for EAMUs are Vivian Powell (field vegetables and fruit) and Bolette Palle Neve (protected edibles and ornamentals).