Chemical crop contamination: Peak body AusVeg silent
VEGETABLE growers who have lost millions of dollars after using contaminated herbicides have been left without a voice, with the peak industry body, AusVeg, not prepared to comment on the recalls.
A combined 200,000 litres of Ramrod Flowable, Gesagard and Primextra Gold were recalled by agrochemical companies Nufarm, Crop Care and Syngenta on December 8, 2016 and January 20, 2017.
Ramrod Flowable is used on onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, beetroot and grain crops maize, sorghum and sweet corn.
Gesagard is used on carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, chickpeas, peas, cotton and perennial grass and ryegrass seed crops while Primextra Gold is used on maize, sorghum and sweet corn.
The Weekly Times questioned AusVeg about the recalled herbicides and asked if Nufarm, Crop Care and Syngenta had done enough to inform farmers about the contamination, given the herbicides had caused severe crop losses and soil contamination.
But AusVeg would not comment.
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AusVeg, which receives levies from Australian vegetable growers to advocate on their behalf, is in a “strategic partnership” with Nufarm and Syngenta.
The AusVeg website says AusVeg is “proud” to partner with Nufarm to “help Australian farmers grow a better tomorrow” and AusVeg’s partnership with Syngenta will have “many positive benefits for growers”.
A Nufarm and Crop Care spokesman said AusVeg and Horticulture Innovation Australia had been informed about the recalled Ramrod, and an AusVeg spokesman confirmed the peak body was aware of the recall and sent two emails to growers informing them about the contamination.
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The Weekly Times was unable to find any vegetable growers who had received these emails from AusVeg.
Despite knowing about the recall, AusVeg has not published any information about it on its website nor any media releases with the details.
Horticulture Innovation Australia published a short notice about the recall on its website, but did not publish any media releases about the recall.
Horticulture Innovation Australia’s annual national conference, which is run in conjunction with AusVeg, has featured Syngenta as its leading sponsor for the past eight years.