17 May 1996

Agchem spend down by fifth

UK farmers spend about a fifth less in real terms on pesticides than they did 10 years ago, and integrated crop management has become firmly established as the way ahead.

Those messages come from Tony Pike, director of the British Agrochemicals Association. The spin-off for growers is that they are unlikely to face the type of arbitrary cuts in agchem use imposed in some Scandinavian countries.

A new Pesticides Forum, formed after a closed meeting of about 60 different bodies interested in minimising the use of pesticides, highlights widespread acceptance of ICM and its place in helping to meet Government aims, says Mr Pike.

In defining policy officials are switching from quantitative to qualitative assessments, he says. "Government is homing in on responsible use." The Pesticides Forum, due to meet for the first time next week, has the BAAs full support.

"It should provide a very fertile centre ground to bring together all the factional interests." It should also present an opportunity to promote responsible use of members products and enable a positive story to be relayed, he adds.

"The government has made it quite clear that farmers should use as little as possible but as much as necessary."