Banning imports of generic agrochemicals would put Peru's agriculture in danger

If the direct importation of generic agrochemicals is prohibited, Peruvian agriculture in general would lose competitiveness and paralyze its development, as these products represent an important percentage in the cost structure, said the Association of Agricultural Producers' Associations of Peru (AGAP).

The union noted that agrochemical trading houses have requested the Constitutional Court to declare the article 3 of Law No. 30190 (issued in April 2014) -which allows the direct importation of generic agrochemicals (not subject to patents) at prices International - unconstitutional, claiming that it contravenes the Andean Standard for the Registration and Control of Chemical Pesticides for Agricultural Use (Decision 436), however, AGAP indicated that the regulation of the Andean Community had been repealed.

"What commercial agrochemicals want is to return to oligopoly conditions where these companies controlled the importation of agrochemicals in Peru and established prices well above the market," said Carlos Zamorano Macchiavello, the general manager of the Peruvian Association of Producers of Table Grape (Provid) and executive director of the Peruvian Institute of Asparagus and Vegetables (IPEH).

He said that with the law, agrochemicals represent 14% of the cost structure of production, and that if the law were to be eliminated, there would be an immediate 23% increase in the cost of production, which would affect competitiveness and the possibility of entering the most diverse markets in the world.

As an example, he said that in 2011 a generic pesticide such as Buprofezpin, was marketed in Peru by agrochemical companies at US $ 31.75, when the international price amounted to US $ 6.00 (in 2018 it amounted to US $ 7.37). This also happened with Acetamiprid, which in 2011 was marketed by the agrochemical laboratories at US $ 158.73, while in the international market it was valued at US $ 13.10 (in 2018 its price was US $10.48).

Free competition regulates prices
The general manager of the Association of Producers of Citrus of Peru (ProCitrus), Sergio del Castillo Valderrama spoke about the difference in prices of the pesticides that were marketed in Peru when compared with the rest of the countries of the region until 2014.

"Before Peru enacted Law No. 30190, the prices of agrochemical products were up to 2.7 times higher than in other countries such as Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia. This law generated free competition, which caused the market to regulate itself and prices to decrease," he said.

Sergio Del Castillo stressed that agrochemicals are the second item of higher cost in the price structure, being exceeded only by the cost of labor.

He added that the arguments used by the trading houses to indicate that Law No. 30190 is unconstitutional had no basis because the use of generic agrochemicals posed no risk to health and the environment, as they are even more regulated than the products marketed by the commercial laboratories.

He also said that once the agrochemical trading houses register, they freely import their products and conduct no controls of the products sold. Meanwhile, each batch of generic agrochemicals that are imported directly by the companies or associations are analyzed (What is being imported? Why is it being imported? What dose will be used? Where will the product be stored? Importers must have an order to take the product out of Customs, and their used is verified in the field). In addition, producers must also collect the containers that had the agrochemicals, triple wash them, drill them, and destroy them.

Agricultural exporters are required to have certifications on good use of agrochemicals
The general manager of the Hass Avocado Producers Association of Peru (ProHass), Arturo Medina Castro, stressed that agricultural export companies are subject to the standards of the destination markets and customers, which take into consideration the good use of agrochemicals, respect for maximum residue limits, degradation curve, and final disposal of packaging, among other issues.

"Agricultural exporters have many certifications on the good use of pesticides and that's because importers demand it. So they use the products well and make sure they don't have problems with residues when they reach the market. This means we pay a lot of attention to the quality of the agrochemicals that we import," he said.


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