Farmers are being reminded to be on the alert for illegal pesticides which could endanger the health of spray operators and lead to big financial penalities for farmers.
The Watch Out! for illegal pesticides was launched in January and is a year-long, nationwide effort to make sure that growers take precautions to minimise the risk of buying counterfeit chemicals.
The campaign is supported by the Voluntary Initiative and Red Tractor Assurance, with funding from the Crop Protection Association, National Farmers Union and Agricultural Industries Confederation.
See more: Read more from the 2014 Cereals Event
Farmers, operators and agronomists attending Cereals 2014 were being urged to help guard against these illegal pesticides and are advised to:
- Buy only known and reputable pesticides from known and reputable suppliers.
- Check that packaging is professional, tamper proof and securely sealed and it has a full label written in English.
- Check the product on the invoice and delivery note matches the product ordered and delivered.
- Check that the product looks as expected.
- Ensure “parallel import” products are genuine – ask for confirmation of the company that made the product and the country it came from.
- Report suspicious products and suppliers to the Defra helpline – 08459 33 55 77 (calls charged at a local rate).
Richard Butler, Voluntary Initiative (VI) chairman, said: “As every farmer, operator and agronomist knows, responsible pesticide use starts with using an approved product and following the information on the label and the advice of a Basis-registered agronomist.
“It is really sad that farmers now have to be aware of the danger posed by unscrupulous professional counterfeiters who want to undermine the professionalism and competence of UK farmers and sprayer operators.”
While illegal pesticides are a bigger problem on the Continent than in the UK, it is hoped the campaign will help safeguard against an increase.
These illegal pesticides are untested and uncontrolled and therefore may contain inferior or even dangerous and banned substances.
Their use could endanger the health of sprayer operators, deprive farmers of their Single Farm Payment and farm assured status, result in crop failure or rejection, create environmental risks to wildlife soil and water and even lead to prosecution.
Watch the video of a Romanian crop which has been severely disadadvantaged by illegal pesticides