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Safety first: How industry protects more than crops

The Safe and Sustainable Use Initiative meets again for its’ 12th annual Conference Meeting over the next two days in Belgrade, Serbia, a delegation of more than 50 crop protection industry and authority representatives will share information and discuss ways to ensure the sustainable and safe use of pesticide products, an important tool for Europe’s farmers. Each year the SUI conference is organised in one of the countries where the Safe and Sustainable Use Initiative (SUI) is delivered in partnership with other stakeholders. The initiative is running in 16 countries, and helps to provide farmers and operators with an easy-to-use toolbox of solutions to ensure safety, the sustainable use of pesticides and the production of high quality food for a growing population. “The Safe and Sustainable Use Initiative is a great example of how knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer can provide appropriate solutions to current challenges. This conference provides forum for all key players to share best practices on how to approach and train the farmers” – said Jean-Charles Bocquet, Director General of ECPA. The SUI Project has been initiated in Serbia in 2012 and it is the 16th project joining the Safe and Sustainable Use Initiatives. “Compliance with product labels and recommendations on protective clothing is very important for farmers’ health and the environment. In Serbia we have realised the effectiveness and value of raising farmer awareness of the importance of safe and sustainable use practices” – commented Dragana Dimitrijevic, Executive Manager of Serbian Crop Protection Association. Today the SUI project is run in partnership with other key stakeholders like the Ministry of agriculture and environmental protection and Extension Services. “At the same time it is important to communicate to the public the benefits that pesticides bring to sustainable agriculture and farmers, and the extensive training that the crop protection industry provides in order to further improve safe use” – she continued. SECPA and ECPA are committed to enhancing farmer knowledge on best practice handling of pesticides, including appropriate use of protective clothing, and safe storage, application and disposal of empty containers.