Crop protection is such a crucial part of a successful harvest and many years are spent on research and development by agrochemical manufacturers to provide a producer with products that comply with exceptional standards. But have you ever stopped to think about the person who is selling and recommending these products to you?
It goes without saying that someone who is in a position to sell and recommend potentially hazardous substances that could pose an extreme risk to not only a producer’s entire harvest, but also the environment and consumers, should be qualified and abide by the highest ethical standards. But how can a producer be assured of this?
As the industry body that represents the crop protection industry, CropLife SA embarked on a journey some years ago in order to answer these questions. The solution came in the form of a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme aimed at distributor member sales agents.
The objective of the programme is to ensure that all agrochemical sales agents of distribution member companies are provided with a range of learning activities whereby they can maintain and enhance their professional competences and knowledge throughout their professional careers to ensure good practice. The programme also aims to advance and promote the status of the agent as a specialist advisor and service provider acting in the interest of the environment, the community and the producer.
Topics such as technical training, business-related training, all aspects of safety, health and environment, responsible use of pesticides as well as overviews of responsible marketing and sales at the retail level are covered by the programme. Once the agent has obtained the required number of CPD points, he/she is issued with a CropLife SA CPD accreditation card with a unique member number.
CropLife SA is the accreditation body for its members and is responsible for the administration of this accreditation based on SANS1606:2014. This National Standard was developed to cover the elements of an accreditation system. The standard prescribes a primary qualification to become accredited in the industry, which, for our members, is the AgriSETA accredited Basic Crop Protection course offered by CropLife SA. It also prescribes participation in and compliance with the minimum requirements of the CPD programme to maintain accreditation.
This is to ensure that all distributor member agricultural specialists in the plant science industry in South Africa keep up with changes in the industry and provide products and services in line with the latest technology and needs of clients – continuously improving the image of the industry and embracing the commitments of the profession.
What the CropLife SA accreditation means for producers, is that they can have peace of mind in knowing the person they are buying their products from is qualified, up to date with industry knowledge and adheres to our code of conduct. Accreditation by CropLife SA is also important for auditing purposes such as GlobalGAP, which is of great value to export producers.
We encourage all producers to insist on this accreditation before purchasing agrochemical products.
For more information contact CropLife SA at 087 980 5163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.