Improved Access to Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals – Extension

​The 2018–19 Budget provides $6.3 million over two years for better access to agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals. Central to this funding is $4 million over two years to continue the minor use grants program. This ensures farmers have chemical access for specialty crops, livestock and emerging industries, and for managing uncommon pests. Funding for this program will address major barriers to agvet chemicals and provide access to the most critical chemicals to keep farms free from pests and diseases while ensuring they meet the standards of international markets.

The funding will:

  • Continue the existing grants program ($2 million per year) supporting RDCs in developing sufficient scientific evidence to prepare applications for chemical registrations/use to the APVMA.
  • Expand the collaborative arrangements between grower groups, chemical manufacturers and RDCs through a regular collaborative forum and prioritised list of chemical needs.
  • Support Australia’s involvement and influence in international initiatives to improve access to minor uses.

Why is this important?

Access to safe and effective chemicals is important to Australian agricultural and livestock industries, the community and the environment. Australia represents less than four per cent of the global chemical market. Growers, particularly in speciality and emerging industries, have difficulty gaining access to the chemicals they need.

The APVMA assessment process ensures that approved chemicals are safe for people and the environment and will not adversely impact Australia’s trade. Small industries have difficulty in supplying sufficiently robust data to meet the APVMA’s access requirements.

Without access to approved chemicals, growers may resort to illegal use of chemical products to address their needs. This increases the risks to human health, the environment and could compromise our international trade as the result of uncontrolled residues in produce.

Who will benefit?

Over $3 billion of agvet chemicals (wholesale value) are supplied in Australia each year.

The program will benefit agricultural and veterinary chemical users having difficulty gaining access to the chemicals they need. Specialty crops and emerging industries – such as horticulture, herbs and spices, pulses and some grains, goat and aquaculture – are expected to reap the most benefits from this program. Larger industries struggling to manage uncommon and emerging pests and diseases will also benefit from this Budget measure.

Suitable agricultural technologies (through agvet chemicals) are necessary to prevent or reduce the damage by pests and diseases to crops and produce. The availability of agvet chemicals to specialty and emerging industries allows business diversification. Farm transformation, through crop diversification, also introduces variety into diet and export commodities.

Access to safe and effective agvet chemicals also benefits the community and the environment. Stronger agricultural businesses have economic benefits for regional areas, including increased employment. Small and specialty agriculture and livestock industries contribute over $2 billion to Australia’s $63.7 billion farm production.

What will this cost?

Improved Access to Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals – Extension - $6.3m