By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for Agropages
Marcelo Bressan, Federal Agricultural Tax auditor of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), stated that the use of 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) based agrochemicals will soon be restricted in Brazil.
He made this statement during his opening speech at the 37th Soybean Research Meeting, organised by Embrapa in Londrina, Paraná.
"Regarding restrictions on the use of 2,4-D, the most important issues are creating a barrier so a worker can prepare and apply the product while riding a tractor, and the presence of a 10-meter gap between the plantation and its border where the pesticide cannot be applied, as well as a 500-meter gap from buildings. The restrictions also oblige farmers to prevent uncontrolled contamination outside cultivated areas by equipment used to disperse the product," he explained.
The herbicide, 2,4-D, is the second most applied product in soybeans in Brazil, behind only glyphosate
, which are the basis of the no-tillage system widely used in the country. The state of Rio Grande do Sul, one of the largest producers of soybeans of Brazil, is already restricting the use of 2,4-D, due to several cases of contamination outside crop boundaries.
The first requirement of the new restrictions concerns the conditions of application, as well as knowing potential risks and responsibilities, such as weather conditions, time, wind speed, temperature humidity, and the appropriate equipment. The second requires farmers to register applicators and explain information on their applications and possible risks.
It is also proposed that companies should create a fund worth US$1.5 million to mitigate possible damages caused by herbicides. The fund's budget could also be used to upgrade weather stations in the state, collect 2,4-D waste, and facilitate product monitoring.
Bressan argued that the agrochemical control system established by Brazilian legislation in 1989 is complex and has many regulations and rules, to guarantee the quality of agrochemicals available for national agriculture, as well as achieve sustainable agriculture and ensure safety and competitiveness.
According to a MAPA survey, 2,053 products that control soybean phytosanitary issues are currently registered, along with 155 biological pesticides that are classified as having low toxicity or minimum environmental risk. "It is important to note that the number of biological pesticides registered over the last four years has more than tripled compared to the previous four years," Bressan stressed.
"Legislation is complex, because of the potential risks of pesticides to human health and the environment, caused by their toxicological and ecotoxicological characteristics. In addition to the state’s involvement in regulating pesticides, the participation of society is also important to the discussions, which is conflicted between the need for more food and the idea of banning the use of pesticides on crops," he added.
Regarding the future, Bressan highlighted some proposed changes to the new agrochemical law, which are being discussed by the National Parliament under Bill 6,299.
"The future use of agrochemicals in soybean crops, with or without the approval of the new agrochemical law, will require challenges to be addressed by the research. Soybean researchers and producers who make the appropriate recommendations and will be required to help make the improvements needed by society, which will involve greater production of food and wealth for the country while caring for the environment and health," he concluded.