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By Elise-Marie Steenkamp

In May, CropLife South Africa and CropLife Africa and the Middle East hosted several workshops where they called on South African agriculture to work together with their counterparts in other African countries to create an “African voice” in response to the European Union’s Green Deal (GD).

“The Green Deal is real, and we must be prepared. The train has left the station; we can only delay and hopefully mitigate the direction the train is taking,” said Rod Bell, CropLife South Africa CEO, at the workshop that was held in Stellenbosch.

The GD is a comprehensive policy framework introduced by the European Union (EU) to address climate change and promote sustainable development. According to Bell, it is imperative that South African agriculture and producers understand the implications for industry, adapt, and evolve.

Bell said that in Europe the GD has been ramped up due to EU parliamentary elections and the war in Ukraine. “The political landscape in Europe has changed. Currently, 17 laws are being drafted in the European Parliament that will have an impact on agriculture. The GD is driven by a strong public/consumer demand towards environmentally friendly products, and South African farmers may need to adjust their production methods to meet this demand.”

Dr Alan Hardacre, CropLife Africa and Middle East said that they are engaging with all relevant SA government departments and will be represented at high-level talks in Brussels in June 2023.

“For us to have an impact, it is imperative to have industry support and data that can be used in negotiations. We need holistic conversations to find solutions to negotiate the GD. South Africa cannot do this alone, we need support from other African countries. We need an African voice to negotiate the GD.”

According to Hardacre, the African continent and its farmers are facing increased challenges to feed its growing population, both directly in terms of local food production, but also in terms of running viable agricultural businesses for local job creation and economic stimulation of the continent’s relatively poor economy. “It is, therefore, essential to get the sustainable growth agenda right in agriculture while ensuring food security remains a priority.”

Hardacre said that the ban on the use of chemicals has implications for other industries other than agriculture. “The pharmaceutical and food processing industries will also need to reassess production practices. We are losing chemical products quicker than registering new ones and this could lead to exports becoming more difficult.”

On 14 April 2022, the Registrar of Act No. 36 of 1947 published a letter informing agricultural remedy registration holders in South Africa of his intention to prohibit the use of agricultural remedies (products) that contain one or more active ingredients or co-formulants considered to be classified as category 1A or 1B carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reproductive toxic substances (CMR), according to the GHS classification system from 1 June 2024.

Hortgro is working closely with all stakeholders, including CropLife South Africa and the Registrar, concerning the loss of chemicals. Read more here.


Find the CropLife South Africa Workshop Summary here.

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