The Brazilian fruit and vegetable sectors have reasons to celebrate. On June 16, Brazil government completed five years of publication of the Joint Normative Instruction (INC) 1/2014, which systematized and simplified the registration process of agrochemicals for the management of Insecticidal Plant Supplements (CSFI), also known as Minor Crops. The measure represents a significant advance in legislation, which has brought legality and safety to horticulturalists.
The INC is a watershed. Without products registered for different cultures, producers had two choices: to risk illegality, applying pesticides used in other cultures; or manage their production without applying available technologies to combat pests and diseases. These are not irrelevant or exotic crops, but rather consumer champions, such as eggplant, zucchini, watermelon, cabbage, and many others that appear daily on the table of the Brazilian family, but were not contemplated with products suitable for their management.
Jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (Mapa), Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance (Anvisa), INC 1/2014 allowed many products to be used that were extrapolated to other crops, making it possible to control pests and diseases, while preventing producers from offering products that were unintentionally illegal.
"Having legalized products generates more security in food production, since they had the seal of the map in the issue of agronomic science, Anvisa, reviewing the toxicological parameters, and Ibama, verifying the environmental impact of the product," notes the technique of System FAEP / SENAR-PR Elisangeles Souza. Further, she said, since the measure came into force, it is today possible to count several victories. "According to information from Anvisa, there are already more than 1,500 Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) established; more than 100 crops benefited and some 150 trademarks registered by INC 1/2014," she said.
These results have direct repercussions on the day to day activities of the producer. "We have a lot of parsley in the municipality, that previously had none, and today we have some products registered. In cassava parsley, there was no herbicide. Thanks to the work started by FAEP, now we have," says Paulo Ricardo da Nova, president of the Rural Union of São José dos Pinhais, in the Metropolitan Region of Curitiba. "Those who planted these crops were always seen as criminals. This work has ensured their work is no longer considered illegal,” said Nova.
Change of image
In addition to improving safety in producing, the regulation also improved the image of the fruit and vegetable sector before the consumer public. "When pesticide use assessment programs found some unregistered produce with vegetables, they rated it as non-compliant and publicized it in the media. So for the consumer, who is not familiar with the agronomic and legal issues, it is as if the food was contaminated and could put lives at risk”, said Stefan Adriaan Coppelmans, director of the Brazilian Institute of Horticulture (Ibrahort).
The representative of the Brazilian Association of Producers Exporting Fruit and Vegetables (Abrafrutas), and coordinator of the Phytosanitary Technical Group of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), Tom Prado had a similar opinion "In terms of health, there is no risk," says Anvisa, by means of the latest results released by PARA [Program for the Analysis of Agrochemical Waste in Food]. The big problem is the population's misperception that this lack of authorization for use on some small crops poses a health risk," he said.
The insufficiency of products registered to serve these crops also caused a headache for the technicians of the sector. "It made life easier. Now we have what we can recommend to the producer,” noted agronomist engineer Hugo Vidal, a specialist in hortifrútis. In his opinion, the earlier situation bordered on the absurd. "The producer could plant, but could not treat. The pepper is from the same botanical family as the tomato. But the tomato had 50 registered products, and so peppers were condemned to death. It was a tremendous discrepancy, "he says.
In this scenario, the crops that suffer most from the lack of products are the small ones. The very name "Minor Crops" refers to "small cultures". They are those that occupy small areas, in comparison to the great cultures, such as soybean and corn. Their problem is that the agrochemicals industry does not see a financial advantage in developing products for their use, since this type of research usually has high costs.
"This is the main bottleneck is the economic sustainability of registering small crops. Studies that need to be done by the industry are expensive and time consuming," noted Coppelmans.