Initiated when IR-4 recognized the need to support US Exports and value of leveraging our work to solve the minor-use problem cooperatively. Working on a global scale helps IR-4 garner more support to address minor use needs and helps US growers access global markets.
Minor uses of pesticides are uses that growers deem to be necessary to deal with pests in low acreage crops or represent minor uses on large acreage crops. Research and registration of minor use pesticides is costly, time-consuming, and does not often have a positive return on investment. Considering a global effort to provide growers of these crops with crop protection tools, IR-4 has developed two focus areas: harmonizing pesticide residue standards and building research capacity globally.
IR-4 works with specialty crop growers around the world to set pesticide residue limits (MRLs) and work towards global harmonization of standards and regulations. Many countries default to Codex residue standards, so after IR-4 submits its data to the EPA, it then repackages and submits those data to Codex in order to help establish global standards where Codex MRLs are missing. While addressing Codex MRLs helps US growers build markets for export, it also helps to “level the playing field” and decreases trade barriers between counties on a whole.
The IR-4 Vision for addressing minor uses is to establish a global network of minor use programs that can work together to solve minor use grower needs.
IR-4 assists developing countries to build their minor use programs and provides technical assistance as needed. IR-4 works with international partners to conduct supervised field trials to generate residue data for establishing MRLs. Developing data is expensive and working together makes the best use of the limited resources available to address minor uses.
The Minor Use Foundation was established in 2018 with the mission of expanding and harmonizing international MRLs to break down trade barriers for agricultural products.