GROWERS MUST increase pesticide stewardship efforts to ensure Voluntary Initiative success, says the National Farmers Union.

The coming autumn and spring spray seasons are significant to the success of the VI and producers are being told to ensure they are using the correct products, in the right mix and quantity.

The reminder comes ahead of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs select committee study into the success of the VI, which begins in October and will be published in February 2005.

“The NFU is collecting evidence in support of the VI at the moment, but it is farmers themselves who must make the VI work,” said Neil Kift, pesticide adviser at the NFU.

“We know pesticide tax is not a viable option for farm businesses so we‘re keen to see VI come to fruition.”

Farmers should check their spray methods again and ask their agronomist or adviser about the range of products available, added Frank Gill, an NFU member on the Cherwell catchment project group.

“The VI is the chance for farmers to ensure safe pesticide use and helps to meet water quality standards.”

The NFU is collecting evidence in support of the VI, to have your say contact Dr Kift on 020 7331 7279.