12 Jan 2023
by Oli Hill, Hazel Doonan

AIC at 20: Leading the way on responsible plant protection product use


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're revisiting how AIC led the industry in developing and promoting responsible Plant Protection Product use and mitigating government threats to impose additional costs on the industry with no tangible improvements for the environment.

Improved stewardship

Pesticides, or Plant Protection Products (PPPs), play an important role in modern, sustainable crop production, helping farmers and their agronomists to produce quality, healthy food and feed.

In 2000, the Government was considering a pesticide tax as a way to reduce the environmental impact of plant protection product use.

As a more effective alternative to the proposed tax, AIC and industry stakeholders came up with a series of measures to improve the knowledge and understanding of growers and agronomists on the responsible use of pesticides.

Had the Government decided to impose a pesticide tax, this could have added up to 30% to pesticide costs for farmers while failing to provide any tangible benefits for environmental protection.

In 2005, AIC led the way on PPP stewardship, helping to safeguard the environment and secure the future for their use in sustainable UK agriculture and horticulture production.

AIC collaborated with seven other industry stakeholders to develop the Voluntary Initiative for Pesticides. The initiative was a clear signal to the Government that the industry is committed to responsible and sustainable pesticide use and has the ability to police itself on this.

Acting fast

AIC was proactive in leading the industry response to this challenge by convening a series of meetings with stakeholders in early 2005 to explore additional voluntary guidelines that could help minimise the environmental impacts of PPP use.

By July 2005, AIC organised meetings for all agronomists in the pilot catchment areas of the Rivers Blythe, Leam, and Cherwell to launch revised guidelines.

Without AIC action, product use would likely have been restricted as a result of the Government seeing a need to intervene, leading to fewer crop protection solutions for farmers and agronomists, additional costs, as well as narrower cropping choices.

Watch the video below to find out more about the crop protection and agronomy sector.

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

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

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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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