Cleaning out counterfeit pesticides from the market

Due to the fast growing population in Uganda, there is an increased need for food hence a quest for increased agricultural production and productivity. However, facilitated by the warm humid climate throughout the year, there is a widespread occurrence of pests and diseases on many crops. For this reason, pesticides have gained greater use in Uganda to mitigate this effect, but there is continuous criticism about the quality of the pesticides offered on the market. A lot of these products are fake, adulterated, mis-branded, not tested and therefore not approved by the regulatory authority. Use of such products is a killer that endangers regional markets as well as livelihoods of individuals directly engaged in both production and trade of these commodities. It risks the health of those involved in application, consumers of products along the value chain and also causes great loss to poor farmers making them poorer. That said, pesticide users have limited knowledge about available genuine products, and how to differentiate genuine from the fake. Some of the users are also unable to read and understand pesticide labels.

My idea is to clean out counterfeit pesticides from the market as a way of promoting sustainable synthetic crop protection.

The project will create public awareness at ground level through live broadcast radio talk shows, good TV publicity, recorded spot messages, jingles played on radio, training farmer groups as well as pesticide dealer groups on the risk related to use of counterfeit pesticides, how to distinguish genuine from fake, how to read and interpret labels. I also intend to do a pesticide quality assessment exercise countrywide and give a status report that will support enhancement of regulatory policies.

Key stakeholders will be district agricultural officers and officials from the ministry in charge of agriculture. The ministry is the regulatory authority that will help to publish and disseminate information on registered pesticides in the country as a way of exposing all banned, unregistered and fake pesticides on the market. The ministry officials, in accordance with section 4 of the Agricultural Chemical (Control) Act 2006, have the mandate to confiscate these products in case we need to undertake such an action. The district agricultural officers on the other hand, will help in mobilizing farmers and pesticide dealers to attend the sensitization workshops to take place at district level.

Key beneficiaries will be small scale farmers who use pesticides for commercialized agriculture, pesticide dealers (those in retail outlets that trade in pesticides countrywide) and large crop enterprises (horticultural) known to use high level of pesticides.

The proposed outcomes of the project will have a socio-economic impact through increased farmer income and increased knowledge on genuine pesticide products, improved safety, human and environmental health provided the pesticide applicators follow label directions. The results from this project will also facilitate enhancement of pesticide industry policies and standards on safe use of genuine products and technologies. Furthermore, there will be sustainable food production and food security while maintaining high levels of environmental compliance.

The success of this project is to be measured by carrying out a pesticide quality assessment on the market before the project commences and then will do another assessment after a period of one year.  Data from these two exercises will then be used to analyze the change in quantity of non-registered, banned, fake and mis-branded pesticide that were found on market before and after the clean out project.

To ensure sustainability of this project, a training manual will be developed to help replicate the training to farmers and pesticide dealers on a continuous basis. A database for quality of pesticides is to be developed and all information from this project is to be published and disseminated for future reference.

I am passionate about cleaning out counterfeit pesticides from the market because I want to make a contribution to improve livelihoods of farmers in my community since they feed the world and make it possible for us to eat safely and sustainably. I am also aware of the great losses arising from the various interceptions of my country’s agricultural exports especially to the EU market due to the chemical residues and high toxicity levels that are as a result of use of the wrong pesticides during production. This can be mitigated by use of the right quality and quantity of pesticides. If given an opportunity to be part of the IUPAC next generation program 2019, I believe it will be a good ground for me to share with and learn from other participants, researchers and practitioners on the various aspects of sustainable crop protection at a global perspective.

Dinah Faith Nabudadiri, Uganda

92 comments

  1. This is great. It will be economically helpful to the agricultural input sector in assessing the quality of pesticides for the betterment of the entire agricultural sector

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It should start now surely……Authentic pesticides! – Safe food! – Safe life! While on the other hand fake pesticides poison the green grocery that may enter the food chain and endager human lives.

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      1. Thats right. I agree that most of our farmers are fooled into buying them unknowingly due to absence of proper education and awareness.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been loooooong overdue. I have been a victim of counterfeit pesticides and many Ugandans put in their efforts and money at the beginning of every season and they end up not getting anything at the end if their harvest just because of counterfeit pesticides. Come on Dinah bring it on

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 14. Wonderful thought Dinah! I have come to realize that adulterated products are usually having an imitation of brand names, bottles and labels or in re used branded bottles are sold cheaply. Farmers will often simply choose the cheapest alternative in which case is likely a counterfeit.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. True…Sometimes during bulk breaking, a bit of the original product is removed and other low value materials are added and the whole thing is repackaged in smaller packages

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  4. Fake pesticides have been established on market because farmers buy them cheaply. Farmers therefore need to be sensitized that low prices should not be the main criteria used to buy agro chemicals

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes paulyn, lots of money are lost on counterfeits and the most depressing effect of counterfeit pesticides is undercut the profit margin of the farmer. This assessment will therefore be of great help

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great piece of work Dinah ! I have witnessed this on market. A case in point is when counterfeiters get empty usef bottles are bought back from farmers and these with their own concoctions, sealed and placed on the market, at a very low cost to compete with the genuine product. Sensitization on this is therefore highly needed.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Personally, I have witnessed a case where used bottles of Round-all, a common herbicide. Instead of this, the bottles are filled with used engine oil, sealed and placed on the market, at a very low cost to compete with the genuine herbicide.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also think if possible farmers and retailers should be advised to either pierce or damage in some way, the empty cointainers after use, or refuse to sell them to “recyclers”

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  6. Uncontrolled fake pesticides could lead to food insecurity due to lower yields than expected and this nation could be at great risk if no intervention rises. Go ahead Dinah

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent initiative Dinah.Farmers and agro input dealers need to be sensitized that counterfeits are a huge challenge and if we fail to manage this problem, it will put the agricultural economy and trade and export reputation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True, I also believe that our farmer’s lack of knowledge about risks of fake pesticides has offered fertile ground for counterfeiters to step in the market as well. Thanks Dinah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I greatly support this, to begin with there should be increased awareness about the risks of using counterfeit pesticides, because thousands of farmers are uninformed about the existence of this grave issue and how to deal with it.

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  8. I suggest that you also talk to farmers on issues of environmental health risks associated with use of counterfeits, for example the long term pollution of their soils and ground water, threats to biodiversity within their gardens and related matters. Otherwise this work is amazing Dinah, go ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dinah your work of creating awareness is greatly supported, farmers also need to be warned against insisting on brands even when they are out of stock because this is another cause of counterfeiting ….For example I remember in 2017 in the course of the fight against fall army worm, a species that was ravaging maize fields across the country, the recommended pesticides like rocket were not easily available and some outlets were counterfeiting such

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly. Famous brands of reputable companies are targeted due to large customer base, yet farmers specifically ask for these brands and often ignore to check for specified details available on products, packages and labels.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am impressed with your work Dinah. I agree counterfeits not only cause economic losses but also pose risks to health and environment since they are not subjected to any safety or regulation tests like authorised pesticides are.

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    1. Problems caused by fake pesticides are many and are all devastating and we need to stop this growing problem by creating awareness. Good work Dinah

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It is very evident that lack of awareness of risks associated with the use of counterfeit pesticides is one of the reasons for their increased presence on the market and therefore raising awareness on this grave issue is a core anti- counterfeit strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True…. I think since pesticides go through multiple channels from producers to buyers, farmers are not always aware of the damage that counterfeit pesticides can cause to their crops and lives.

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  12. Thank you Dinah for this concern. Counterfeit pesticides are causing significant losses not only to the pesticide industry but also the great loss of valuable yield leading to larger issues of food insecurity and a drop in the national agricultural economy.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I suggest that as we increase awareness of the dangers of counterfeit pesticides to farmers and growers, also try to increse awareness with customs, regulatory authorities and policymakers. Otherwise I am impressed, this piece was well thought of.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There is a significant share of counterfeit pesticides on the ugandan market, and these are inferior formulations and hence unable to kill the pests efficiently. Raising farmer awareness through regular communication directly and through the supply chain is therefore urgently needed. Go a head Dinah.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like the team work and inclusiveness in this idea, it is great to know that this work will engage both farmers and agro input dealers. Let farmers and retailers be urged to co operate so that they can jointly combat counterfeit pesticides on the market.

    Liked by 1 person

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