Impact of Counterfeit Pesticides

Did you know?

In China and India, illegal pesticides are believed to comprise about 30 percent and 20 percent of the pesticide markets in these countries, respectively

(Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension)

China and India are not the only countries dealing with the problem of counterfeit pesticides; it is a global problem with adverse effects on all stakeholders. Counterfeit pesticides affect all aspects of the economy from the market to the environment to the end consumers. Before we discuss solutions, let’s talk about the impact of counterfeit pesticides.

The Impact of Counterfeit Pesticides


  • Low detectability
  • Financial impact
  • Reputation and brand erosion

Counterfeit pesticides are very hard to detect due to the sophisticated packaging and labeling that counterfeiters use to disguise their products. Some fake products even bear anti-counterfeiting labels and technologies that make it more difficult to detect and separate the genuine products from its substandard counterparts. When farmers buy fake pesticides, genuine businesses are losing market share to counterfeiters. Furthermore, fake versions of branded products hurt the reputation and brand name of genuine companies and put them at risk for unnecessary law suits.


  • Financial impact
  • Poor efficacy
  • Health impact

When pesticides do not work as intended, farmers waste money on products that poison their crops or leave them susceptible to harmful pests. No crops mean a significant impact on their livelihood, further impacting their financial health. Even worse, if the fake pesticides contain dangerous and toxic chemicals, the farmers could be putting their health and wellbeing at significant risk.


  • Health impact

Farmers are not the only ones who can be impacted by toxic chemicals used in fake pesticides. If crops with fake pesticides make it to market, end consumers could be at risk of ingesting dangerous chemicals, leading to short term and/or long term health effects.


  • Toxic ingredients
  • Water contamination

Ingredients that are not approved for use in pesticides can potentially damage the environment. Fake pesticide may not decompose easily, hurting the soil, water, and the overall ecosystem. This can lead to longer term issues with future crops that are planted in that soil.


  • Financial impact
  • Job creation
  • Innovation and efficiency impact

The government is not immune to the impacts of counterfeit pesticides. The cost spent to fund enforcement and compliance of using approved pesticides can be great, depending on the significant of agribusiness in the region. If the industry is compromised, it does not grow, leading to reduction in jobs, further negative impact on the economy, and more pressure on government. If the threat of counterfeits were taken out of the picture, government could spend more resources on productive ways to promote industry innovation and efficiency.

What Can Be Done?

There are several solutions to the problem, which, when used in tandem to one another, can create a strong barrier against the threat of fake pesticides.

  • Improve detection strategies (anti counterfeiting solutions like Sproxil)
  • Increase awareness and education of the problem and available solutions
  • Promote vigilance with farmers and end consumers
  • Improved enforcement for compliance by the government
  • Take a proactive approach in detection and combating the issue by law enforcement
  • Improved purchase processes by farmers (authorized dealer purchases only)


While individual stakeholders can make a significant impact on protecting their own farmers and end-consumers, collaboration and government involvement are key requirements for combating fakes.

We need

  • Collaboration of all stakeholders
  • Greater government involvement

Many companies around the world, from small farms to multi-national businesses, are threatened by counterfeit pesticides. If you or someone you know works for an agri-business company, get in touch with us. We’ll work together to develop creative solutions that help you fight counterfeiting and engage your consumers.