09 Mar 2023
by Oli Hill, Hazel Doonan

AIC at 20: Finding an efficient solution for the sale of professional plant protection products


As AIC marks 20 years as the UK agri-supply industry’s leading trade association, we're looking back at some of its greatest achievements since it was founded in 2003.

Each week throughout 2023, we’ll explore a major achievement where AIC represented its Member businesses, promoted the benefits of modern commercial agriculture in the UK, and supported collaboration throughout the food chain.

This week we revisit how AIC responded to the need for purchasers of professional plant protection products (PPPs) to show a certificate of competence at the point of sale.

Proportional controls

In 2012 the Government published its Sustainable Use Regulation which included an ongoing requirement for users of professional pesticides to hold a specified certificate of competence or work under the supervision of a certificate holder.

While AIC supported the need for users of professional PPPs to be trained and certificated, draft versions of the legislation had proposed that "necessary measures be put in place to restrict the sale of professional product to persons who hold a [user] certificate".

AIC responded to regulators and policy makers, explaining that the end user is not necessarily the purchaser.

The requirement for proposed point-of-sale checks would have led to an increased administrative burden for every distributor business because each purchaser's certification status would need to be verified before PPPs could be released. This would have led to delivery delays for customers.

To help increase the level of understanding of the PPP ordering process, AIC met with Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) staff at various Members' premises and questioned the need for such measures given the assurance scheme checks of end-user qualifications already in place.

AIC successfully lobbied to ensure that it was not a requirement to show a certificate of competence to buy professional pesticides, gaining vital recognition that the purchaser is not necessarily always the end user.

The Sustainable Use Regulation instead sets out that the purchaser is required to ensure that the intended user holds the relevant specified certificates.

Information campaign

To help farmers, growers and other industry stakeholders understand the legal position around the purchase of professional PPPs, AIC developed and published a poster for all distributors to use at their point of sale.

AIC-Sustainable-Use-Regulation-Point-of-Sale-Poster-Oct-2015.jpg 1

The poster helped storekeepers to easily explain the legal requirements to purchasers regarding the purchase and use of professional PPPs, greatly improving understanding of purchaser and user obligations.

The information campaign helped build customers' understanding of exactly what was required of them, avoiding uncertainty and unnecessary delays at the point of sale.

These AIC-funded posters also highlighted the legal requirements around the use of PPPs to reinforce key messages around safety and best practice.

Find out more about the crop protection and agronomy sector by watching the video below.

Make sure you're following AIC on Twitter and LinkedIn for regular updates.

Visit the AIC at 20 webpage for more content like this.


Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

[email protected]
01733 385230

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Hazel Doonan

Hazel Doonan

Head of Crop Protection & Agronomy, AIC

Hazel is based at AIC Head Office, Peterborough and is responsible for management and coordination of the Crop Protection Sector.

Previous to her role with AIC Hazel was employed in the crop protection industry for 18 years as a BASIS qualified agronomist. She was also responsible for managing a regional agrochemical department with a national distributor.

[email protected]
01733 385251

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