Product Stewardship – Is there a role for better collaboration?

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Product Stewardship can be defined as responsible use and management of products during the complete product lifecycle from discovery through manufacture and use to disposal. For plant protection chemicals, this chain includes the agrochemical industry, growers, authorities, advisors and the food-chain industries. Obviously, the control of the manufacturer over the product decreases as it moves down this chain. Currently, a handful of major agrochemical companies are considered to be leading in the stewardship of their agrochemical products through advice to distributors, contract applicators, farmers and other users. This advice includes handling products, improving application methods, minimising operator exposure, safe storage and disposal, and local container management programmes. Stewardship initiatives have resulted in significantly increased safety to farmers and growers, reduced environmental impacts, together with reduced residues in food and a decrease in accidental incidents of exposure and intentional exposure, including suicides. Lessons learnt over recent years include the recognition that this is a long term proactive commitment, requiring development of partnerships at the local level. It is also becoming increasingly clear that tools are needed to measure the impact of the changes, in combination with flexibility to learn from experience and adapt as needed. Finally, it is equally important to demonstrate and communicate the benefits in order to promote responsible attitudes and practices.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2009

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