Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Ceisteanna (126)

Verona Murphy


126. Deputy Verona Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will apply to the EU for a derogation on the ban of diquat on behalf of potato growers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23972/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Diquat has been the most commonly used desiccant in the potato sector for many decades. As the deputy is aware, diquat is no longer approved for use as a plant protection product within the EU. However, to facilitate industry transition and to support growers as they move to other methods of dessicating potato crops, I have granted a temporary, once-off and short term emergency authorisation for diquat.

This is line with the legal provisions of the EU regulations govering pesticide approvals.

The authorisation is subject to a number of strict conditions to ensure appropriate protections are in place. These conditions reduce the maximum allowed application rate and spray volume, and introduce specifications in relation to buffer zones and drift-reducing nozzles. They are the same as those provided for in an emergency use authorisation recently granted by Denmark, albeit the provision in Ireland is for a reduced period of time.

This authorisation will remain in place for a period of sixty days from September 10th  facilitating the limited use of diquat to desiccate the potato crop. 

To ensure that a similar situation does not arise in the future, I am requesting Teagasc to engage with stakeholders across the potato sector to address the challenges of potato crop desiccation in the absence of diquat.