Bukoola Chemical Industries Ltd, an agro-chemical distributing company in Uganda in partnership with the Anti-Counterfeit Network (ACN) yesterday unveiled a campaign dubbed “Protect life…Twefeeko” aimed at creating awareness about fake agro-chemical inputs on the market.
The pesticide global market is worth approximately $45 billion of which the African market that is reported to range between $1.5 to 2 billion. This small market for Africa has led to a proliferation of fake agro chemical products.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Dr. Peter Kyabaggu, the director of Bukoola Chemical Industries said most national associations in Africa report about 15 -20 % of their markets as being affected by illegal pesticides on the market while others suggest 40 – 80%.
Egypt, West Africa, Uganda, Tanzania have been reported to be the hot spots for a thriving illegal pesticide market.
This, he said, affects farmers as it leads to loss and damage of crops making poor farmers poorer, leading to high toxicity levels in the food crops grown and causing environmental issues.
“As farmers, there is need for more vigilance when purchasing the pesticides. Pay close attention to the quality markers and make sure you buy from trusted suppliers and report criminals to the authorities as soon as possible. Dealers also need to desist from the vice, ensure to source from official distributors, report criminals as well and check all received consignment for tamper proof. Government needs to strengthen its surveillance, inspection and enforcement of the law against these criminals to fight the vice,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, the ACN director legal, Fred Muwema called upon players in the public and private sector to support the fight against counterfeits.
“This maiden communication campaign is very important to us as the league of the genuine because it reinforces our message. We hope to use this as our basis to engage many more brands,” Muwema noted.
The main sources of counterfeit agro-chemicals is the small scale backyard preparation and re-filling of fake products and suspected “leakage” of packaging materials (bottle and labels) from authorised local formulators, re-packers and distributors.