By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
The Government of the State of Rio Grande do Sul established a working group to decide the future use of herbicide 2,4-D in the region of Southern Brazil. The state is the largest producer of grapes in Brazil, and the third largest producer of soybeans. The problem with the active ingredient occurred after the inadequate application of 2,4-D in soybean crops, which caused product drift and decimated grapes and other crops in nearby fields.
According to official government data, this herbicide drift has damaged 68 properties in 19 municipalities in the region. Several crops, such as grapes, olive, apple, corn, ryegrass and even native land, were affected.
On the one hand, soybean producers in the South of Brazil will not give up applying 2,4-D for weed control. At the same time, the producers of minor crops want the immediate prohibition of 2,4-D. An attempt to reach agreement had been made in January, but the meeting ended without a solution or the scheduling plans for further negotiations.
The Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Covatti Filho, requested the formation of the working group to the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite. "The intention is to share ideas for a series of actions that can solve this problem [of the 2,4-D drift]," said Filho .
The working group will be composed of representatives of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Environment, Infrastructure and Health, and the promoters of the Public Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), Embrapa and regional entities for research, support and assistance to farmers and municipalities. The working group may require the participation of other public bodies and civil entities with knowledge in the growing of citrus, apple, mate herb, pecan, olive, grape and wine, soy and rice.
"Now that the working group has been formalized, the next step will be to set up a meeting with the state secretariats, because there has been a drift in the urban environment and the Health Secretariat is working on this issue," said Rafael de Lima, head of the Input and Output Division, Agricultural Services (DISA), an agency linked to the Secretariat of Agriculture.
There is also a civil inquiry open at the Prosecutor's Office to investigate the effects of product drift. The trend, according to experts, is that restrictions are placed on use of the product, as opposed to imposing a total ban. A regulation for the land application of the herbicide should also be created.