There are encouraging signs that industries like the flower industry may in future have easier access to the pesticides they need. Just over a year ago, the Australian Government set up the Minor Use Liaison Office (MULO) to assist specialty industries in accessing legal crop protectants and develop a long-term structure for addressing these industries’ crop protection needs.
What is a ‘minor use’ or ‘specialty crop’?
It is a crop where the total area of production is small compared to broadacre crops like wheat, canola, sugarcane and cotton. The products are often high in value. At the moment, growers of such crops have limited legal pest control options. This is because pesticide manufacturers typically target and invest R&D into larger markets where sufficient economic return on investment exists.
The costs of registration are huge, especially the associated costs of generating the data needed to obtain and maintain regulatory approval and address potential liability from these uses once approved. The challenges faced by the Australian flower industry in regard to pesticide access were fully described in Australian Flower Industry this time last year (issue #13).

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