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Pesticide Registration

Completion requirements

All pesticides and fertilisers must be registered under the regulations of Act 36 of 1947, which is the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, governed by the National Department of Agriculture. This process must be undergone before a pesticide is made commercially available. The registration process involves submitting data on the composition, toxicology, pharmacology, efficacy and phytotoxic to the Registrar of Act 36. Trials in which data is generated must be carried out according to guidelines set out by the office of the Registrar. The results must show that the pesticide does control the pest against which it is aimed under a range of environmental conditions before registration is granted. Also, the results should show that the compound would not adversely affect the health of operators and environment.

The importance of the label on a pesticide container and the information it contains cannot be overemphasized. The label must be strictly adhered to, so it should be read before the container is opened. It is technically an offence to use or recommend the use of an agricultural remedy for any purpose or in any manner other than that specified on the label on the container.

No pesticide may be used in any other way that contradicts the Label. This means that the pesticide must be registered for every crop it is to be used on and for a specified target at a specified application rate. Any use of a pesticide not in accordance with the label is a criminal offence and could lead to criminal charges being laid against you. The outcome of this could be a fine or jail sentence.

A pesticide label has a centre panel with two side panels to cater for multilingual labels. Each group of pesticides is identified by a coloured square in the top righthand corner of the centre panel next to the product’s name. A colour band at the bottom of the centre panel indicates the hazard group. The label also contains one or more pictograms placed within the coloured band. These are used to communicate important safety information to the user. Three kinds of pictograms are used; those giving Advice; those giving Warnings and those giving information on how to handle and apply the product correctly.

The label further contains the trade name, the registration number (L number followed by Act 36/1947), the name of the active ingredient and its concentration in the formulation as well as the formulation type. In addition, the labels state the name, address, telephone number of the registration holder.

The batch number and date of manufacture/expiry should also be on the label. The directions for use concerning the dosage rate, recommended volume per hectare, registered tank mixes and compatibility will also appear on the label.

The Pesticide Label

All pesticides sold in South Africa are required to be registered in terms of the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act No 36 of 1947). According to this act each compound sold must have a label that contains set pieces of information. This label is viewed as a legal document and any application of a pesticide in contradiction to the label recommendations is a criminal violation of the law.

The label serves three important functions:

  • A label is a legal document required by law and no pesticide may be sold without an approved and valid label. One should not use a pesticide that does not exhibit an L registration number on the label.
  • The label is an information leaflet that tells the user how to use the product correctly in order to achieve the desired results.
  • The label informs a user how to use the product safely and responsibly. This information includes aspects such as:
    • Timing of application
    • How often a compound should be applied
    • The precautions that should be taken
    • The protective clothing that should be worn when preparing or applying spray mixes
    • The measures to be taken in order to prevent pollution the environment
    • The crops on which the compound should be used T
    • The dosage rates that are to be used

A pesticide label consists of two parts - the main panel also known as the sales panel and the side panel or information panel. The sales panel serves to identify the product, its legality, the registration number and the registration holder.

The side panel contains information that must be given in the following sequence:

  • Warnings
  • Precautions (including the "triple rinse" statement)
  • Symptoms of human poisoning
  • First aid treatment
  • Note to physician
  • Use restrictions
  • Directions for use:
    • Compatibility
  • Mixing instructions
  • General directions:
    • Ground application
    • Centre pivot application
    • Aerial application
    • Directions for application.

Click here to download a handout that explains the label information symbols.