Bukoola Chemical Industries Ltd, the largest agro-chemical distributing companies in Uganda in partnership with the Anti-Counterfeit Network has today unveiled a campaign dubbed “Protect life…Twefeeko” aimed at creating awareness about fake agro-chemical inputs on the market to manage and guarantee quality of stock, food security and health of the people of Uganda.
The Pesticide world market is worth approximately $45 billion compared to the African market that is reported to range between $1.5 to 2 billion, largely affecting farmers, exporters and the general public’s health.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign at MKS plaza, Dr. Peter Kyabaggu, Director 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 affects Farmers as it leads to loss and damage of crops making poor farmers poorer, high toxicity levels in the foods grown and Environmental issues. It is therefore vital that we tackle this issue head on to save our livelihoods and lives.”
Dr. Kyabaggu urged industry stakeholders to become more vigilant in purchasing, inspection and litigation of criminals attached to counterfeit pesticides.
“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 also needs to strengthen its surveillance, inspection and enforcement of the law against these criminals to fight the vice,” he said.
Bukoola Chemical Industries will be working in close partnership with the Anti-Counterfeit Network (CAN) to create awareness about illegal vs genuine pesticides across the country through various communication efforts.
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.
“No one can survive without eating food. By this I don’t mean any food. It is very important that we have safe food on the market. Unfortunately, counterfeit agro-inputs like herbicides and pesticides are poisoning our food and making it unsafe. It is the duty of every consumer to join this fight to ensure our collective health and survival.” Muwema noted.
Muwema further said that ACN shall commence legal enforcement measures to prosecute culprits who shall be found to engage in counterfeiting of Bukoola products after expiry of 90 days grace period which begins today.
The main sources of counterfeit agro-chemicals is noted to be small scale backyard preparation and re-filling of fake products and “leakage” of packaging materials (bottle & labels) from
authorized local formulators and re-packers / distributors.
The event was attended by farmers, dealers and partners in the agribusiness.