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COVID-19 – News from the Crop Protection & Seed Industry

23 March 2020 IHS Markit Expert

Timing of work on EU Green Deal uncertain amid pandemic

The schedule for the roll-out of the EU's Green Deal initiative, which includes the forthcoming Farm to Fork strategy, is uncertain amid disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. The European Commission's agenda is set on a weekly basis and "we will have to see" if original schedules are maintained, said chief spokesperson Eric Mamer on March 16th. He was asked for an update at the daily press conference following news that vice-president Frans Timmermans, who is leading work on the Green Deal, is in self-imposed quarantine until March 20th. Mr Timmermans does not have any symptoms but went into quarantine after meeting a French Minister who later tested positive for COVID-19.

EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides had previously said that the Farm to Fork strategy, which will contain measures to reduce pesticide use, would be published by the end of March. It is to be accompanied by the results of reviews of legislation on agrochemical registration, residues and sustainable use. Mr Mamer stressed that all such "tentative" dates are communicated in advance for planning purposes but always need to be confirmed by the weekly meeting of Commissioners.

China sets up temp approval/renewal measures for coronavirus delays

China's Ministry of Agriculture has put in place temporary measures related to approval procedures and the renewal of licences in order to mitigate disruption and delays because of the coronavirus outbreak. The measures are meant to effectively ensure the supply of agricultural materials and agricultural production during the outbreak, the Ministry says.

The Ministry has allowed the postponement of submission of renewal applications for import of pesticides and seeds. If an overseas trader applies for an import approval for a genetically modified crop, applicants are encouraged to submit an electronic CD-ROM at the same time as submitting the paper application. The Ministry will promptly handle it by holding an online expert review meeting, it says.

The Ministry further encourages applicants to adopt online declaration, mailing of materials, telephone consultation, and delivery of results to reduce the number of cases to be handled on-site at the government service hall window, reducing the concentration of personnel and blocking the spread of the epidemic.

Australia warns of coronavirus effect on agchem supplies

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has warned of possible disruption to the supply of agricultural and veterinary chemicals from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Australian government has put in place extra border measures that may affect sea vessels that have left or transited through affected countries. These enhanced public safety measures may affect the availability of agvet chemicals for import into Australia, the APVMA points out.

This analysis is taken from Agrow - part of IHS Markit's Agribusiness coverage. Agrow offers the latest news and analysis across the Crop Protection and Seed Industry - to find out more, please get in touch at


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