Agriculture in South Africa is based on more than just a business exchange or making a profit – it is based on human relationships and trust. However, if something goes wrong, it shakes these very foundations to the core and can leave a producer exposed – and often without recourse.
Crop protection plays a critical role in this value chain. One could even say that trust is necessary in this area more so than any other, considering that these important substances are potentially hazardous and could pose an extreme risk not only to a producer’s entire harvest, but also to consumers and the environment. Would it not make sense then, to buy from someone who is qualified and who has committed to abide by the highest ethical standards?
This is why CropLife SA embarked on a journey some years ago to establish a continuous professional development (CPD) programme that ensures agrochemical sales agents of member companies are provided with a range of learning activities that maintains and enhances their professional competencies and knowledge. The programme aims to advance and promote the status of the agent as a crop adviser, acting in the interest of the environment, community and the producer.
It requires that a participant reaches a certain number of points in three respective categories, namely technical training and learning activities, business management training and learning activities as well as safety and legal-related training and activities. In addition, they must complete the Basic Crop Protection course as a minimum requirement for participation.
Once an agent has obtained the required number of CPD points, he/she is issued with a CropLife SA accreditation card and earns the title of crop adviser. At the moment it is a physical card, but soon it will be available as a digital card on an Android or iPhone device.
This means that producers can have peace of mind when buying from a CropLife SA-accredited crop adviser, because they know the person is qualified, up to date with industry knowledge and adheres to CropLife SA’s code of conduct. For exporters of crops, this is particularly important for auditing purposes such as GLOBALG.A.P.
CropLife SA encourages all producers to insist on this accreditation before purchasing agrochemical products. That being said, a producer must always ensure to only use products that are registered in South Africa for the intended purpose, which refers to a specific pest, crop and application method as well. An easy way to verify this is to register on www.agri-intel.com and view the label information of the product in question.
The responsibility lies with each player in the value chain to ensure that the trust that is held so dearly in agriculture, is maintained.
For more information contact CropLife SA at 087 980 5163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.