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What you as a producer and contract service provider in the agrochemical industry should know about the growing market of illegal pesticides

What you as a producer and contract service provider in the agrochemical industry should know about the growing market of illegal pesticides

The increasing trade in counterfeit and illegal pesticides challenges manufacturers and contractors to ensure a safe pesticide market, to provide more transparency in their supply chain and to protect their companies from potential damage to their reputation caused by counterfeit pesticides. Counterfeit and illegal pesticides have no guaranteed effectiveness and are associated with a high risk.

With its CRISTAL (Communicating Reliable Information and Standards to Agriculture and Logistics) initiative, the European Crop Protection Association ECPA ensures the development and implementation of international standards for the traceability of the product, batch and sales unit across all logistics levels.

Counterfeit and illegal pesticides are a global problem

The global trade in counterfeit and illegal pesticides is increasing. Behind the trade in counterfeit pesticides are organized criminals who produce, market and sell pesticides all over the world. The amount them in the world is increasing constantly. Counterfeit and illegal pesticides represent a significant threat to farmers‘ health, the environment and the global economy.

What are counterfeit and illegal pesticides?

Counterfeit pesticides are hardly distinguishable visually from the legitimate original product. The product packaging as well as the labels strongly resemble the original packaging. The composition of the pesticide‘s active ingredients and quality may nevertheless vary considerably, even if they look like the original products.

Illegal pesticides are usually easier to identify than counterfeit products. They are usually marked with a simple or even incomplete label. With illegal products, no attempt is made to copy an approved product. They are therefore easy to distinguish visually. Nevertheless, they pose a risk to human health and the environment. The ingredients indicated on the packaging usually differ from the actual composition.

What risks and dangers arise from counterfeit and illegal pesticides?

In principle, enormous dangers arise for the health of consumers and farmers, for the environment as well as for manufacturers and contract service providers.

  • Counterfeit and illegal products are neither tested nor evaluated. They are not subject to the EU regulatory process for pesticides.

  • Counterfeit and illegal pesticides often contain chemicals that are either banned or restricted because of the risk to human health and/or the environment.

  • Undeclared active ingredients in counterfeit and illegal products can leave unacceptable residues on the products, making the goods unfit for the market.

  • Since the ingredients of counterfeit and illegal products are not known, their use can pose a high risk to farmers, the environment and crops.

  • False declared, counterfeit and illegal products are not labelled in accordance with international labelling regulations, which are intended to ensure safety during transport. For example, highly toxic, flammable or otherwise dangerous substances are transported incorrectly and therefore pose a serious risk to people and the environment.

  • As part of organised criminal networks, the production of fake and illegal pesticides does not meet industry standards, posing a risk to human health and the environment.

Counterfeit pesticides in particular pose a major risk to the health of farmers, the environment, as well as to manufacturers and contract fillers, as they are virtually indistinguishable from the original products in terms of their appearance.

If a counterfeit product is mistaken for an original product, this usually results in high reputational damage for the manufacturer and contract service provider.

Solution of the problem: How can manufacturers or contract fillers ensure a safe pesticide market?

Despite the good work of customs and other inspection services, counterfeit and illegal pesticides continue to threaten EU health and safety and sustainable agriculture. For this reason, effective monitoring and control of the market is essential.

ECPA strongly encourages farmers to know their suppliers and advocates the purchase of counterfeit-proof products. By using appropriate software and systems, manufacturers and contract packers can make their products counterfeit-proof and ensure greater transparency in the supply chain.

Supply Chain Track and Trace (SCTT) - more transparency in the supply chain

In order to implement the CRISTAL guidelines, SCTT is to ensure greater transparency from production to the farmer:

  • Marking of each Stock Keeping Unit (SKU - smallest container size) with a unique serial number

  • Aggregation of the individual SKU into the next packaging unit, e.g. cartons

  • Aggregation of the packaging unit to the shipping unit (e.g. pallet)

  • Global provision of serial number and aggregation levels

Further advantages for manufacturers and contract service providers through SCTT

With Supply Chain Track & Trace, manufacturers and contract bottlers in the agrochemical industry benefit from further advantages in addition to greater transparency:

  • An important step for the production of safe and healthy agricultural products

  • Improvement of quality management

  • Documentation of the supply chain from the manufacturer to the end user

  • Reduction of product aging within the supply chain

  • Improving product data accuracy and preservation of this data

  • New possibilities in CRM

  • Improved product safety and increased customer confidence

  • Safeguarding the company‘s profitability by avoiding product piracy

  • Security against damage to reputation due to counterfeit products

For the implementation of SCTT the company b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik GmbH offers various software and hardware solutions. b+b has already successfully implemented many projects of well-known manufacturers and contract service providers in the agrochemical industry.


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