16 Dec 2008

Compensation call for growers following ban

2:03 pm on 16 December 2008

A tomato growers' representative is calling on the Environmental Risk Management Authority to compensate growers following the decision to ban the insecticide endosolfan.

The ban will come into effect on 16 January and the authority said disposal of stocks should be done within 12 months.

The head of the Tomato Product group, Tony Ivicevich, said although endosulfan is not widely used by tomato growers, it is an important treatment of last resort.

Endosulfan has been used as an insecticide on a variety of crops including vegetables, berries and citrus fruits.

Mr Ivicevich said the abrupt ban could mean it will be harder for tomato growers to get rid of insect pests.


ERMA had been reviewing the use of endosulfan as part of a reassessment of the continued use of some agrichemicals.

The pesticide was responsible for losses of exports in recent years after overseas authorities detected traces of it in shipments of New Zealand beef.

The authority said it wanted to stop the use of endosulfan as quickly as possible, but recognised the need to allow time for safe disposal.

Horticulture New Zealand had asked the authority to phase out the chemical over five years instead of an immediate ban.

The organisation's chief executive Peter Silcock said the decision gave growers little more than a month to come up with alternatives.

He said that may mean growers cannot control insects properly, and the quality would not be up to that required for export markets, and some produce may be so badly affected it will not be saleable at all.

Soil and Health Association spokesperson Steffan Browning applauded the authority's decision, saying it sent a clear message that ERMA can look at pesticides in a rigorous way.