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The impact on South African Agriculture if Boron is classified as a CMR in the next year.




The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) circulated a letter on 14 April 2022 stating the DALRRD’s intent to prohibit the use of active ingredients and their formulations that meet the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) criteria of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and reproductive toxicity (CMR) by 1 June 2024.


The classification of boron as a CMR will mean that producers will not be able to purchase fertilisers that contains boron anymore.


The importance of boron for farming success

Critical to the growth and health of all crops, boron is one of the most important micro nutrients for plant production and maximizing yield potential. Soil with insufficient amounts of elemental boron does not provide enough nutrients that plants need to survive. As such it leads them into an unhealthy state which causes a severe decrease in their growth rates.

Boron plays important functions that includes a structural role in cell walls, stimulation of reproductive tissues, maintenance of plasma membrane functions, the improvement of seed quality, and it is also influential in the biosynthesis of some metabolic compounds.


Why would the elimination of Boron have a negative impact on South Africa’s agriculture and economy?


During the Fertasa Soil Fertility And Plant Nutrition Symposium held at the CSIR International Convention Centre on 28 September 2023; Dr Koos Bornman, a well renowned soil scientist and industry consultant, gave a presentation on the impact the classification of boron as a CMR would have on a number of South African crops. Prohibiting boron would have a detrimental affect on citrus, maize, table grapes, soya beans, tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, sunflowers, canola and sugar cane.


Dr Bornman said “The extent of boron deficiency as a micro nutrient in worldwide crops is second only to zinc and the situation is worsening with boron fertiliser demand increasing exponentially and supply dwindling.” and also stated that “You can improve your citrus yield threefold just by improving your boron.”


A study shows that boron deficiency led to a decreased yield and malformations in plants in all instances. All crops saw a definite increase in water use efficiency as well as improved physiology upon the reintroduction of Boron. As such producers should not underestimate the positive impact that boron could have on a crop. - Stutt Trading

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