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ETS and IRAC IRM Workshop in Brazil and Argentina

Thursday, March 26, 2015  
Posted by: Jonathan Loeb
Agro Bio Brazil, CIB Brazil and ABRSEM hosted a workshop for industry participants focused on the ETS IRM (Insect Resistance Management) Guide and Audit Component and the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) International Integrated IRM Strategy. More than 50 representatives from companies in Brazil attended the workshop. The session focused on presenting the IRM International Integrated Strategy and the ETS Guide and Audit Component.

Following the meetings in Brazil, the Argentine Seed Association (ASA) hosted representatives from ETS and IRAC to give similar presentations to industry representatives in Buenos Aires. The meeting in Argentina also included a workshop on ETS and IRM for government and regulator representatives. More than 60 people attended the two days of sessions. There was a robust discussion among the group on the IRM issues in Argentina, the ETS audit component, research and modeling.

The central themes for the week of meetings included support for science based national regulations, availability, distribution and use of refuge seed, monitoring resistance, mitigation when resistance is suspected, and transparency and auditing. IRAC Chairman, Nick Storer (Dow AgroScience), described the International Integrated IRM Strategy as focusing on the commitment to durable technology deployment. The companies have agreed that managing resistance is fundamental to technology stewardship and they have embraced management practices throughout their organizations including research and development, regulatory, stewardship and commercial operations. Key to the overall strategy is that the marketplace does not undermine technology sustainability.

ETS Executive Director, Chris Holdgreve, gave an update and overview of the ETS program and highlighted the key principles outlined in the IRM Guide and commitment made under the audit component. ETS member companies have agreed to adhere to IRM principles in product development and commercialization of biotech-derived plant products. To advance this goal, ETS published, in collaboration with CLI and IRAC, the Guide for the development and implementation of IRM programs and an IRM Audit Checklist. The audit component will be implemented in key geographies in 2015 and commitment by ETS members to successfully complete designated audits of IRM component by December 31, 2016.

The IRM guide outlines key areas to be addressed from the risk assessment phase, to the IRM program development and implementation, to program maintenance and compliance. The ETS qualified auditors will verify that member companies have processes and programs for IRM in place.

The overall effort on IRM was very well received. There was very good industry alignment on the importance of the proper management and pushing forward aggressively on implementation plans. ETS will be providing third party independent auditor training webinars and internal company training sessions on the new module in April.

The overall benefits of the IRM strategy include greater commitment from industry partners to implement IRM, greater transparency and accountability for technology developers, adoption of ETS IRM best management practices across the industry and improvements in the durability and sustainability of plant biotechnology.

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