Action 24 SGF SAOSO

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[av_heading heading=’Evidence- based advocacy supporting the passing of the organic and agro-ecology legislation and the amendment of Act 36 on pesticides’ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#669933′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

[av_heading heading=’SAOSO’ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#669933′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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  • Need to lobby government to amend (provide content to the revision of) the Fertilizers, farm feeds, agricultural remedies and stock remedies act, 1947 (act no. 36 of 1947)

Every agricultural chemical (fertilizers and pesticides including herbicide, insecticides, fungicides etc.) that is used and sold in South Africa must be registered under Act 36 of 19471. Act 36 states that when agrichemicals are used, the Product Label Instructions & Special Warnings must be followed scrupulously.

The Pest control regulations amendment provides for “all reasonable precautions (to be) taken to prevent the drift or spread of agricultural remedies from a treated area.” It further stipulates that in the event of a drift or spread to a non-targeted area, the pest control operator must take a few steps to inform affected parties, and “ensure that any hazards to persons from exposure to the agricultural remedies are eliminated or controlled.”

The Act however does not make provision for:

– strong controlling mechanisms of such spray drifts

– any sanctions against the guilty party

– any compensation to the affected parties

In praxis, this means that the country is experiencing numerous and severe cases of agro-chemical spray drift and volatization, which affect the environment (accumulations of residues in soils, waterways and underground water), compromise the livelihood of farmers running organic operations (either by direct drift or by the general contamination of the environment where farming occurs) and severely affects the health not only of the farm workers applying the remedies but also of the communities living adjacent to the sprayed fields. But the culprits are not only commercial farms; local municipalities in South Africa are known to make extensive use of herbicides such as glyphosate, which is sprayed alongside curbs in residential areas and roadways.

Of late, SAOSO has encountered and engaged with numerous stakeholders (farmers/consumers/ grassroots organisations) who were alarmed by the extent of the problem, that seemed to grow exponentially. Many people living close to farming intensive arrears report alarming symptoms and several cases of cancers could fairly be attributed to the issue (although the issue of footprinting/ attribution remains scientifically challenging). In some communities, people have had borehole water tested and the reports emerging show high levels of pesticide residues, thus compromising the quality of the water for the environment, people and animals at large in the long term.

The current state of the revision of Act 36 is unknown. It was believed a draft would be tabled in March 2019, but it didn’t happen. A source on the matter indicated that he had requested a copy of the draft revision/status update, which was denied to him as of December 2018.

  • Need to lobby Government to pass the organic policy

The organic policy has been shelved for several years and is currently in its 10th version. The organic sector will not be able to grow and to be protected without the adoption of this policy. It is of utmost importance that this policy be adopted

Objectives

  • Raise awareness on the issue of agro-chemicals in South Africa
  • Influence the revision of the South African legislation regulating the use of agro-chemicals in the country
  • Lobby South Africa’s Parliament for the adoption of South Africa’s organic policy

Activities (May 2019 – April 2020)

  • Advocacy campaign for the passing of the organic and agro-ecology policy. This will include:
    • Online petition and/or call for single emails and submissions
    • Active engagement with Members of Parliament (relevant Committee; party leaderships) and key stakeholders
    • Compiling of briefing paper / policy note
    • Attendance of Parliamentary session(s) by grassroot organisations/relevant stakeholders
  • Advocacy campaign for the revision of Act 36. This will include:
    • Online petition and/or call for single emails and submissions
    • Active engagement with Members of Parliament (relevant Committee; party leaderships) and key stakeholders
    • Compiling of briefing paper / policy note
  • Evidence-based research on the impacts of agrochemical spray drift and residues in SA. The case study will be conducted in Elandskraal, Western Cape (Garden Route), on a site already identified. The research will seek to capture evidence of the impact of agro-chemical usage and how spray drift and agrochemical residues affect the environment and communities in South Africa. This will include: soil reside and water residue testing; scientific expertise for water, crop and soil analysis; production of a web documentary for dissemination to the public at large.
  • Writing up of a research report documenting the advocacy processes, lessons learnt, outcomes & way forward.

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[av_heading heading=’About SAOSO’ tag=’h4′ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#83a846′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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South African Organic Sector Organisation (SAOSO) is a national non-profit organisation serving as the umbrella body to create, maintain, and service a vibrant, cooperative and credible organic community in South Africa.
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Disclaimer: This web page was created with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the African Climate Reality Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
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