Counterfeits Disrupt Uganda’s Agrichemicals Market

The outbreak of the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) in East Africa in late 2016, particularly in landlocked Uganda, and the rush by government to prescribe two pesticide combinations to counter the spread of the pest, helped illustrate the region’s counterfeit agrichemicals problem.

Ugandan farmers complained in early April 2017 the prescribed pesticides were hard to access and unscrupulous dealers were selling counterfeit chemicals hampering their efforts war against the pest.

“The recommended chemicals are not easily available and what some outlets are selling are counterfeit pesticides,” said Patrick Matovu, a farmer in Luweero District.

The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has recommended the use of a pesticide combination of Lambda-cyhalothrin (106g/l) and Thiamethoxam (141g/l) also called Striker 247SCSC or Engeo K 247 SC and also Profenofos 40% + cypermethrin 4% or Rocket 44EC at a rate of 20-50 mls in 15-20 liters of water.

However, Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja said the use of the two pesticides is an emergency measure since Uganda “is exploring more sustainable management measures. Research is ongoing to establish long-term effective and robust control measures of the pest,” he told media in April.

Uganda estimates yield loss of 15% to 75% that translates to at least 450 metric tons of maize valued at $192 million.

Although the director of crop resources at Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Opolot Okasai, says the complaints of counterfeit pesticides for controlling the fall armyworm are being investigated, recent studies have shown counterfeit agrichemicals in Uganda have several causes each calling for a unique approach in helping salvage the country’s crop protection segment.

In maize-growing districts where the two pesticides have been used according to guidelines provided by the Ministry of Agriculture “the maize crops are recovering,” Okasai said. The implication is that failure to comply with guidelines on use contributed to or caused the ineffective outcome.

In March 2017, Uganda set aside $2.3 million from the national treasury in support of the fight against the pest. Part of the funds was for procuring the two emergency pesticide combinations, purchase of light, and pheromone traps for pest surveillance, procuring motorized pumps, and mobilization of communities to carry out the agreed control measures.

Sale of counterfeit pesticide complicates the war on the fall armyworm as the pest is likely to develop resistance and wreak havoc in the country produces nearly 4 million metric tons of maize annually.

Croplife Africa and Middle East lists Uganda as a counterfeit and illegal pesticide hotspot alongside Egypt, West Africa, and Tanzania although the counterfeit problem cuts across the African market with a pesticide market value of $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

Uganda’s Anti-Counterfeit Network says suppliers and dealers in genuine agrichemicals and farm inputs have gone out of business because of increasing volumes of counterfeits in the market.

Uganda has an estimated 2,600 agro-dealers with only 50% of them being registered through Uganda Agro-input Dealers Association, the national apex organization for all agro-input dealers in both rural and urban areas of Uganda.

Uganda, which has a crop protection market value of about $30 million, is grappling with delayed passage of the counterfeit bill that is held back because of disputes over its inclusivity and enforcement.

Uganda’s Minister of State for Trade Michael Werikhe says the counterfeit bill focuses on both imported and locally produced products.

“The bill is not only talking about externally sourced products only but also that products manufactured in Uganda should be genuine and imitations should be banished from the market,” he said.

But the problem, according to Everest Kayondo, chairman of Kampala Capital City Traders Association, is the counterfeit bill leaves out substandard products. “We need a law that addresses both counterfeits and substandard products,” he said.

In April 2017, Uganda’s Anti-Counterfeit Network said the country has existing laws on dealing with counterfeits but the enforcement is weak.

“The challenge is that the punishments were not stringent enough: this is why we need the bill passed because the punishment under the penal code Act 1950, are not so severe,” says says Fred Muwema, Legal and Corporate Director at the Anti-Counterfeit Network.

A draft report prepared for Bill and Melinda Gates in collaboration with Monitor Deloitte said counterfeiting in Uganda is also prevalent within herbicides.

The report identified mislabeling, label reuse, and label imitation as the main types of counterfeiting within Uganda’s agrochemicals industry.


Leave a Reply

Africa/Middle East

Africa/Middle East

20,000 Ethiopian Smallholders Targeted with Climate Smart Technology

CTA together with Farm Africa has launched a new project to promote the resilience of smallholder farmers against climate change

Africa/Middle East

Bayer-Monsanto Merger Ramps Up Technological Transformation in Africa

Farmers in Africa are on the cusp of benefiting from cutting-edge innovations that will catapult growth of the agricultural sector

Africa/Middle East

Kenya’s Crop Protection Industry Fears ‘Dire Consequences’ of New Pesticides Tax

The agrichemcials industry in Kenya is up in arms over a decision by the government to impose a 16% value-added

Africa/Middle East

Zimbabwe’s New Government Pushes to Strengthen Agriculture

The new government in Zimbabwe has unveiled new plans, including a land tenure review plan and agricultural crop subsidies to

Pyrethrum flowers
Africa/Middle East

Pyrethrum Comeback Afoot in East Africa

Governments in East Africa are renewing efforts to revive the ailing pyrethrum subsector in order to bring back the bloom

Africa/Middle East

Eurofins Adds Field Base and Two Satellite Bases in Morocco

New for 2018 is EAS Groups field base in Morocco – from the main facility in Meknes, based in the

Africa/Middle East

Bayer Closes Monsanto Acquisition

Bayer successfully completed the acquisition of Monsanto on Thursday. Shares in the U.S. company will no longer be traded on

Africa/Middle East

Bayer Plans Closing of Monsanto Acquisition on June 7

Bayer plans to complete the acquisition of Monsanto on June 7, following the receipt of all required approvals from regulatory

Africa/Middle East

Affinity in East Africa: Marrone Bio Innovations Finds Harmonious Partner in Kenya Biologics

Farmers in East Africa are set to benefit from a wide range of zero-residue biopesticides that will help to increase

Africa/Middle East

Zimbabwe’s New Government Pushes to Strengthen Agriculture

With Mugabe out, the push for increased agricultural production by the new government has opened new business opportunities for planting seed material suppliers and agchem manufacturers.

Africa/Middle East

Zambia’s AGCO Enters Retail Finance Partnership

The new partnership between AGCO, its national distributor BHBW Zambia Limited and the Zambia National Commercial Bank Plc (Zanaco) will provide retail financial solutions for farmers purchasing machinery.

Africa/Middle East

Fall Armyworm a Serious Threat to Sub-Sarahan African Food Security in 2018

Once considered a pest plaguing only North and South America, the fall armyworm (FAW) arrived in Africa in force in

Africa/Middle East

Staphyt Opens Experimental Station in Morocco

Agrosciences and regulatory CRO Staphyt announced it opened its first phytosanitary experimental station in Meknes, Morocco in March.

Africa/Middle East

AgTech Startup Wefarm Secures New Financing Round

Wefarm, the world’s largest farmer-to-farmer digital network, has secured $5 million in additional seed funding, led by Silicon-Valley based True

Africa/Middle East

Sub-Saharan Africa: Time for a Paradigm Shift to Sustainable Farming Practices

Farming in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has remained fairly conventional over the years and involves intensive use of synthetic chemicals and

Africa/Middle East

VisionFund International Offers Climate Insurance Initiative for African, Asian Farmers

More than 690,000 families totaling up to four million people living in six low-income countries stand to benefit from a

Africa/Middle East

Bancella Expands African Footprint

Bancella Ltd., headquartered in Mauritius, has taken another step in growing the footprint in Africa by taking what is described

Africa/Middle East

Kenya Dairy Industry Sheds Light on Market Challenges, Opportunities

In December, I had the privilege to serve as a volunteer consultant with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Kenya.

Africa/Middle East

Eastern African Nations Move to Harmonize Fertilizer Regulations

Eastern Africa countries are working to harmonize the region’s fertilizer market, a move that could improve not only demand for

Latest News


Bayer: Study Shows its Soybeans Reduce Environmental Impact

Results from a five-year peer-reviewed study on Intacta RR2 PRO™ soybeans planted in South America were recently published, indicating that


A Salute to Retired CropLife America President Jay Vroom

Editor’s note: It goes without saying that crop protection manufacturing is a central point of interest to readers of this


Italpollina CEO Elected as New EBIC President

The European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC) elected a new President Luca Bonini, CEO and owner of Italpollina, a founding member


Expect Herbicide Price Hikes in 2019

Herbicide price hikes across the board are an inevitability for 2019, as the entire U.S. ag community deals with a


Mexico: Ripe for Growth in High-Value Horticulture Crops

Editor’s Note: Eric Viramontes is Executive Director of Meister Media Worldwide Mexico, based in Guadalajara. Here he provides an overview