Harmonisation

What is harmonisation?

In a world with 196 countries, it’s not surprising that governments regulate crop protection and animal health products in different ways.

Harmonisation attempts to create a unified approach to the regulation of agricultural compounds.

Harmonisation in New Zealand

Regulators have harmonised Australian and New Zealand food standards, so harmonisation of agricultural compounds regulation should also be achievable.

Some preliminary work has been done and the New Zealand regulator appears supportive, but progress has been slow.

Why is it important

A more efficient regulatory environment is particularly important given the changing nature of the business in New Zealand.

Manufacturers, growers and retailers are merging and getting bigger. Competition among them is definitely much greater and there are increasing calls internationally for produce with low or nil residues.

While these market changes are positive, they do pose challenges for the industry in maintaining existing products and developing new products for key export crops.

Agcarm’s view

Agcarm is strongly supportive of forums which encourage harmonisation.

These include VICH, a trilateral programme aimed at harmonising technical requirements for veterinary product registration.

Agcarm supports the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1963, Codex develops harmonised international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect the health of the consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.

Other examples of harmonisation include the work of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, which works to streamline the pesticide approval and review  process by helping governments work together to evaluate the risks of individual pesticides more quickly and thoroughly.