By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
Prosecutors in the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul (MPE-RS) have indicated that they will go even deeper and research the side effects of the herbicide 2,4-D applied to soybeans that ended up suffering drift and destroyed crops such as grapes and olives in southern Brazil.
According to the prosecution, the civil inquiry will seek the opinion of technicians and other sectors involved, and also include other agrochemicals of the same group classified as "hormonal", or growth regulators.
The decision to deepen the inquiry was taken after there was lack of consensus among producers of soy, wine and entities of the productive sector. A meeting was held this month at the Federation of Agriculture of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Farsul), but the parties could not arrive at a solution or decision.
There is already an ongoing inquiry into the 2,4-D launched by the public prosecutor since the year 2015 to investigate the effects of product drift. With the problems recorded that year, the active ingredient is in danger of being suspended. The office of the secretary of agriculture of Rio Grande do Sul announced that it would establish, together with technicians of the private entities, a regulation on the terrestrial application of the agricultural defensive.
"We were expecting a consensus among the sectors. Since there was none, we will evaluate the technical evidence attached to the case and verify whether it is a case of judicialization or not. If it is a problem common to other chemists, we have to expand the object of analysis in order to avoid future problems," said prosecutor Anelise Grehs, who coordinates with the Environmental Conflict Resolution Nucleus of the MPE-RS.
Gedeão Pereira, president of Farsul, had opposed the "prohibition of any active ingredient". According to the official, 2,4-D is a product of "extremely high quality and absolutely safe". The entity recognizes 2,4-D drift damage, but advocates training and empowerment of applicators as the solution to the deadlock.
Advisor to the Brazilian Wine Institute (Ibravin), Helio Marchioro said that the production of grapes was under threat if the herbicide use was not suspended. "We are faced with a supposed loss of one activity (soybean) against the survival of several others such as honey, horticulture and fruit growing in general. In our understanding, the minimum of common sense would indicate suspension of use until there are objective and technological conditions that guarantee that we will not face damage anymore. "