12 Aug 2015

Data protection boost for Agcarm

4:22 pm on 12 August 2015

After almost 15 years of negotiations, the Government has taken steps to increase data protection for agricultural chemicals and technologies.

The agricultural chemical and veterinary medicine manufacturers, or Agcarm, has been asking for an extension to the time period for data protection from five to eight years.

Data protection is used for the development and creation of new agricultural compounds to ensure money can be made before competitors have access to the research and data behind the products.

Jo Goodhew.

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew said the current time of five years was not long enough for the size of New Zealand and the amount of product purchased here.

She said the bill was now ready to go to the house and it would give companies more incentive to bring and develop products in New Zealand.

"So at the moment, New Zealand's market is a really small one and therefore the suppliers need to be able to have some data protection over time, so it makes it worth their while to supply these particular products into New Zealand.

"Adding some length to the data protection, up to eight years, means that we'll have a much better range of these products ... products to manage plant and animals pests and to keep farm animals healthy."

Agcarm chair Mark Christie has been a driving force behind the push for further data protection.

He said it was good news, but ideally it would be extended to 10 years.

"For some of these uses expenditure can be up $100,000 to $200,000, so ... pretty much you didn't have enough time to get the investment back, that's the simple sum of it.

"Often those markets are relatively small, people don't realise how small the markets are, especially for minor crops in New Zealand.

"For example, if it was leafy vegetables, it's a very small area of crop and small number of growers, so to get your return on that investment within three or five years is very difficult to achieve."

Mr Christie said he expected a large number of new products to be developed over the next few years, especially for minor crops.

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