TIPWG Newsletter May/June: Through the eyes of farmers

This week, a new infographic by CropLife International landed on my desk which got me thinking. The infographic urges farmers to ask three questions every time they purchase pesticides. Is it authentic? Who made it? Is it legally registered? By doing this, the farmer is empowering themselves to ensure the pesticides they purchase are legally registered.

At the moment, certain pesticides are in short supply globally, so there is added temptation for both pesticide buyers and let’s call them “enterprising individuals” to dabble in the world of counterfeit pesticides. Some may question the harm in this, claiming counterfeits are merely generics and stating the only ones losing are pesticide manufacturers whose market share is being eroded by counterfeits.

Indeed, the counterfeit pesticide market is booming globally. With the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) estimating that in the EU alone, “counterfeiting in the pesticide sector causes approximately EUR 2.8 billion of lost sales to the EU economy” and the OECD stating, “global revenues associated with the trade of illegal pesticides are estimated at USD 6-10 billion.” So, there is truth in the argument that the legitimate pesticide industry is being heavily impacted, but you would be naïve to think this was the only downside of this illegal trade.

While it shouldn’t need stating, counterfeit pesticide production is an illegal trade. The vast amount of money involved makes it one of the most significant organized crime businesses in the world. A business that not only impacts legitimate pesticide producers, but also the livelihoods, food supplies and surrounding environment of those farmers who knowingly or unwittingly choose to use them.

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