September 17, 2019 / 8:00 PM / a month ago

Brazil clears new pesticides as government aims to speed approvals

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday approved 63 pesticides for commercial use as the government seeks to reduce a backlog of applications for new agricultural chemicals.

In a statement, the ministry said 56 of the new approvals were for generic products with active ingredients already in use in Brazil. Seven of the registrations are for new pesticides.

The chemical industry has lobbied for years for a more streamlined approval process, which in Brazil involves three agencies and can take up to a decade for a new chemical.

Yet environmental groups warn that Brazil is already a heavy user of pesticides, including chemicals banned elsewhere, with weak controls against poisoning rural workers and communities.

Most of the pesticides approved in Brazil this year are generic versions of chemicals already in use.

Carlos Venâncio, who coordinates the department of pesticides and related products at the Agriculture Ministry, said 310 of the chemicals registered this year were generic and 15 were based on four new active ingredients.

“The goal of generic product approvals is to increase market competition and lower the price of pesticides in Brazil,” the ministry said in its Tuesday statement. “This can bring farmers’ costs down.”

One of the new molecules approved on Tuesday, the fungicide fluopyram, has been registered for use in the United States for years and was under review in Brazil for a decade, the ministry said.

In all of 2018, the government registered 450 pesticides, 11% more than the previous year and 62.5% more than 2016, Agriculture Ministry data show.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Peter Cooney

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