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September 15, 2011

Up to 40% of pesticides used in Tanzania are counterfeit

Attendees of a recent crop protection seminar in Tanzania heard that up to 40% of the the pesticides used in the country were counterfeit.

There are many types of 'fake' pesticides. Some have low concentration of the listed active ingredients, while others may not have them at all, being made up of fillers or chemicals different from those expected for a given product range. Farmers may buy them because of their lower cost compared to known brand name products.

A trainer at the seminar said that manufacturers of counterfeits often resort to cutting corners because of the high cost of product development associated with pesticides. He said the cost of bringing a product with a new active ingredient to market could be as high as $250 million. It can also take as long as nine years from the start of testing to being authorized to market the product.

As much as 40% of research and development costs are on environmental impacts.

Even with genuine pesticides, where farmer illiteracy levels are high and usage training levels are low, illness and fatalities associated with improper use or disposal are constant risks. Where counterfeit products are used these dangers are multiplied because of the unknown or inconsistent chemical composition.

African Agriculture

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