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Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) wants the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to speed up its approval of crop protection products, particularly those that are the most environmentally friendly.
The request comes on the heels of a recent economic impact report suggesting that pesticides and other crop protection products were invaluable to the sector.
HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman said a recent NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report, commissioned by Agcarm, showed a potential cost of $3.8billion to the horticultural sector - or about 75% of its annual turnover of around $4.9billion - if crop protection products were removed.
''Our industry cannot currently operate effectively without pesticides. However, where they can, our growers are progressively lessening their use and want to move to products that are as environmentally friendly as possible.
''HortNZ and the horticulture industry want to work with the EPA to speed up the approval of organic and synthetic products that fight pests and diseases in the most sustainable, environmentally-friendly way possible.''
He said the Agcarm report also showed that a one-year delay in approval costs between $7million and $70million in lost GDP over a decade.
''This cost estimate can only increase given consumers are demanding that their food is grown with minimal environmental impact, using as few and as friendly crop protection products as possible.''