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New tactics to bolster farmers’ arsenal in weed, pest and disease fight

Farmers productivity and their ability to access markets was given a helping hand this week with a Federal Government grant initiative to assist them to combat pests, weeds and diseases.

Farmers - be they livestock producers, grain or fruit growers - depend on effective safe controls to ward off attacks from pests, disease and weeds.

Being able to access such controls in a timely manner is crucial to Australia’s agriculture sector’s long-term productivity, sustainability and international competitiveness.

To improve access to such safe and effective controls Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce announced 51 approved grants with a total value of $2.5 million.

The grants were awarded to Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Dairy Australia.

The funding will allow these RDCs to gather the data needed to support applications for new chemical uses to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

“Access to the latest and most effective ag-vet chemicals is integral to the ongoing productivity and profitability of farmers,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

Our farmers operate in a challenging environment in which their livelihoods are under constant threat of besiegement from pests, weeds and diseases.
NFF President Fiona Simson

“These ailments have the ability to destroy a crop and significantly limit the productivity of animals.

“If not controlled pests, weeds and diseases can also prevent access to some of our most valuable markets.

Ms Simson said she welcomed the Government’s recognition that farmers needed both long-term access to new, effective ag-vet chemicals as well as minor use permits for transient outbreaks.

“If there is an outbreak of a pest or a disease not ordinarily occurring in a farmer’s operating environment they need to be able to quickly access a control mechanism.”

“This was highlighted with the outbreak of the Russian Wheat Aphid in South Australia and Victoria last year – where the timely issuing of MUPs was key to controlling the potentially damaging pest.”

Ms Simson said controlling or eliminating barriers to crop growth and animal production bolstered farmers’ productivity and profitability and their ability to compete in the global market.

“This announcement represents an investment in the continued long-term prosperity of Australia’s farming sector,” Ms Simson said.

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