1 March 2002

Resistance: Whose concern?

Fungicide resistance is a

problem which deserves to

be taken seriously if crop

yield and quality is not to

be sacrificed.

Andrew Blake reports

DISEASES ability to adapt and survive what once were effective spray treatments should be of concern to everyone involved in farming and beyond.

That is the strong warning from a leading government scientist.

"Fungicide resistance is a major area of concern to the agrochemical industry," says the Central Science Laboratorys Nigel Hardwick. "The cost of bringing a new fungicide active ingredient to the market is estimated at £40m-£60m. It is an investment which can all too easily be lost when plant pathogens become resistant.

"Loss of a previously effective fungicide can lead to a gap in the armoury available to control the potentially devastating effects of disease on yield and quality."

Resistance ultimately affects everyone from manufacturer to consumer, says Dr Hardwick.

"It is really everybodys problem. Fungicide makers lose on their investment. But farmers also miss out on disease control and can suffer lower crop profitability. "Consumers may get poorer quality produce at higher cost. And the nation as a whole could have to increase imports to meet shortfalls in quantity and quality."

Stick to FRAG guidelines to avoid encouraging disease self-defence mechanisms, advises Nigel Hardwick.

The Fungicide Resistance Action Group – UK is a committee comprising consultants, academics, researchers and representatives from government, levy boards and the agrochemical industry.

FRAG-UK gathers and interprets information on fungicide resistance and its management. The aim is to achieve UK consensus on:

&#8226 Promoting practical guidance on the status and management of fungicide resistance in the UK.

&#8226 Indicating areas where research and development are required.

&#8226 Providing an interface between industrys Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) and independent research organisations.

&#8226 Producing, publishing and promoting educational material to help in understanding and reducing the incidence of resistance in plant diseases.

For more information visit web-site:

http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/committees/Resistance/FRAG.htm