AGRIBUSINESS: Crop protection barriers and pesticide destruction issues

Agribusiness investment hampered by legislative restrictions on access to the latest international crop protection knowhow

Natalia Gusieva and Tetiana Smovzh
Saturday, 07 October 2017 16:51

Crop Protection Obstacles Impede Investment

One of the most crucial issues international producers of innovative original crop protection products (CPP) are facing while working in Ukraine is the practical impossibility of importing samples of unregistered CPPs for the purposes of state trials and research. Many regard this as a discriminatory measure and a clear non-tariff barrier to trade.

In line with the Law of Ukraine “On Pesticides and Agrochemicals”, while importing unregistered CPPs into Ukraine for trial purposes the importer must submit proof of the product’s state registration in the country of production. In reality, this requirement is unjustifiable and impossible to implement for a number of clear and objective reasons. CPPs may focus on certain crops that do not exist in the country of production. They could focus on a certain climatic zone, which may differ from Ukraine or the country of origin. The CPP could be for treatment of diseases and/or pests that may not exist in the country of production. In some cases, the process of state trials preceding market authorisation of an innovative CPP takes place in parallel both in Ukraine and in the country of production in order to prove the product’s efficiency under different climatic and agricultural conditions. In such circumstances, it is not practical to expect the certification stipulated in current Ukrainian legislation.

As a result, on top of wasting huge R&D investments needed to develop new crop protection products, Ukraine is also artificially blocking Ukrainian farmers’ access to the world’s best innovations. This forces them to use older generation products and thus receive lower yields than they could have achieved with new generation CPPs.  

The current legislative bottleneck appeared unexpectedly and without any prior public consideration about one and a half years ago. Working in such an unpredictable business environment is discouraging for international business and does not contribute to improving the investment climate in the country, which is a great pity. The solution is simple: amendments to the text of the law to allow an inflow of CPP innovations into the agricultural sector of Ukraine.

In order to attract investors who are not afraid to come to Ukraine, it is necessary to ensure the predictability of governmental decisions. Equal conditions and fair competition for all market players are also vital. Ukraine needs to create a framework offering suitable protection of intellectual property rights as well as clear adherence to statutory deadlines by the state authorities in the process of licensing activities. 


Destruction of Obsolete Pesticides

Over the past few decades, Ukraine has accumulated a significant amount of unused or obsolete pesticides and other agrochemicals that require destruction. The majority of specialized Ukrainian facilities for destruction are not compliant with international ecological standards. Solving this problematic issue is a major challenge for the entire Ukrainian agricultural industry.

Producers currently receive recommendations to deliver obsolete pesticides for responsible storage in purpose-made warehouses. However, the capacity of these facilities is not limitless. Moreover, the constant accumulation of obsolete pesticides without their further destruction does not solve the ultimate problem of handling this type of waste. On the contrary, it leads to the further aggravation of the situation.

One of the short-term solutions to this problem in Ukraine is to implement a mechanism of transboundary movement of obsolete pesticides for proper disposal in an environment-friendly manner at specialized factories in other countries.

At the same time, it is important to adopt a long-term perspective and to start searching for opportunities to attract investments into the construction of facilities for the destruction of obsolete pesticides in Ukraine, with the aim of ensuring better ecological standards in the country.


About the authors: Natalia Gusieva is Head of Public & Government Affairs at Bayer Ltd and Co-Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Seeds Committee. Tetiana Smovzh is Head of Governmental and Public Affairs at Syngenta and Co-Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Seeds Committee.

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