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Note from the Chair – reaching for the silver linings

At the time of drafting this note, the President announced the tightening of the COVID-19 regulations in response to the increase in positive cases and COVID-19 deaths in South Africa. With this tightening comes the sense of moving backwards in our fight against COVID-19 and the crippling impacts this pandemic is having on almost every aspect of life as we know it.

We are not alone. The rest of the world is also in the same storm and while approaches may differ, the challenge of saving lives and minimising the economic decline is universal. The impacts can be readily felt across almost every sector, including timber markets which have seen a drastic drop in exports.

Cash flow is going to be scarce and, from experience, budget cuts inevitable. Foresters must find ways of completing silvicultural operations under far tighter budgets; one area already being discussed is the aerial application pesticides. See the Dos and Don’ts of aerial application for assistance.

While the COVID-19 clouds continue to build momentum, there is a shimmer of a silver lining: the resulting positive environmental impacts. Air pollution is at its lowest, bird song has returned to places where it has not been heard for decades and on many levels, the planet is healthier than it has been for a long while. However, our new fondness of plastic and single-use masks, in response to COVID-19 is a cause for concern. I am excited when I see positive posts about the environmental bearing fewer cars and planes and less production is having. That said, this has an economic knock-on too.

Continuing on an environmental theme, pollinators remain our focus and appear to have earned the international spotlight. This can only be a good thing, as their disastrous decline should be sending ripples of concern across the globe. TIPWG’s Read the Label Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which firmly places the focus on bees, has been praised by all quarters and even incorporated into CropLife SA’s CPD Programme. We are incredibly proud to be associated with CropLife SA and their pollinator initiatives as they work relentlessly to ensure important insects are protected.

One highlight in what has otherwise been a rather challenging quarter is the release of the first edition of  TIP-Mag, which arrived in inboxes around the world on 1 June. We are very excited with the number of webpage visits and downloads it generated in just one month and hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together. We look forward to submission for the second edition and any comments and suggestions about the first edition are also very welcome.

So let me end by wishing you all a safe remainder of the fire season, for those in the summer rainfall catchment, and the arrival of early spring rains.

In all things pesticide,

Roger Poole.

Photo by Suganth on Unsplash

/ Note from the Chair

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