The Illegal Trade in Chemicals



Pesticide applications in Kazakhstan are on the rise, and imported pesticides are estimated at 88 per cent of the total usage (Forbes Kazakhstan 2016). The volume of the illegal trade is unknown, but field research and interviews with pesticide sellers, buyers and experts found three general violations of national laws: • Companies and private traders import, store or sell pesticides without the required license • Companies with a license to sell authorized pesticides also trade unauthorized pesticides • Prohibited and unregistered pesticides are available on the open market Several large companies in Kazakhstan offer only authorized products from well-known suppliers. Buyers can shop on official websites or at company stores. Company agents conduct on-site consultations with farmers, and propose pesticides to respond to specific problems. Contracts and guaranteed results lead some farmers to buy from these companies even though the prices may be 3–10 times the price of counterfeit products. Company specialists provide instruction in the proper use of their products, and usually take back empty containers for proper disposal. According to the information provided by non- governmental organizations fromKazakhstan – EcoForum Kazakhstan and Living Asia – agents from unlicensed companies also visit farms to sell unauthorized products,

and farmers looking for the cheapest product that is effective are willing to buy no-name products that provide the right results. Product certification is not a factor, and product safety is a minor concern at best. Farmers can also purchase pesticides through social media. Many residents of villages and summer houses buy pesticides in small packages at shops and local markets where the products for sale vary little from region to region. Some of these products are authorized, and have labels with all the required information. Some products are authorized for use, but their labels do not contain all the required information. And some of the products are prohibited, have unknown contents and labels written in Chinese, and may have been smuggled into the country. Some sellers keep pesticides in the open air, under the sun and exposed to temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius. Local market vendors provide little or no information about their suppliers. They may say that the product came fromRussia or China, but provide nodetails. Beyond the advice to dissolve the product in water, the vendors offer little information on the frequency of applications, the amount to use or safety precautions to take. They may suggest wearing gloves and avoiding pesticide applications when the temperatures are high. Some retailers suggest washing and reusing empty pesticide containers. None of those interviewed mentioned the need for safe disposal.

The Illegal Trade in Chemicals


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