The production of fake pesticides costs EU businesses about €1.3bn (£1.1bn) each year in lost revenue, including £65m in the UK and 200 jobs.
A new report from the EU’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows 13.8% of legitimate revenues are lost each year because of counterfeit pesticides in the EU.
Germany, France and Italy suffered the most in lost sales. The report estimates fake pesticides cost Germany, the biggest pesticide producer in the EU, €299m/year (£255m/year) and 500 jobs.
The French pesticides sector loses about €240m (£204m) in sales and 500 jobs each year due to counterfeiting, the report says.
António Campinos, EUIPO executive director, said: “Counterfeiting can affect every economic sector, and the pesticide manufacturing industry, which includes many small and medium enterprises, is no exception.”
Graeme Taylor, director of public affairs at the European Crop Protection Agency (Ecpa), said the European Commission must do more to combat illegal and counterfeit pesticides.
“Counterfeit and illegal pesticides affect our industry in terms of lost revenue,” he added. “The more concerning element is the potential effect these products could have on the environment and the health of those using them.”
How do fake pesticides enter the market?
Counterfeit pesticides enter the market primarily via smuggling or under the cover of parallel imports and come in various forms; as active substances, bulk consignments of premanufactured concentrate or in fully finished packed goods.
The packaging itself can be with basic labels without user instructions, or have a very well-designed copy of the original labelling.
It’s important to note that these products are untested and violate the strict EU regulations that ensure the substances would have no unacceptable risk to the farmer, their crops or the environment.