Competent authority discovered counterfeit fertilizer that turned into mud when blended in water

            Requirement that fertilizer producers must have a laboratory to control quality of input materials and output products is a new regulation under the draft Decree on fertilizer monitoring which is open for public comments by MARD on April 19th in Hanoi.

            Low quality counterfeit fertilizers flooding the market

            Mr Hoang Trung, Director General of Plant Protection Department (MARD), said that the draft Decree would inherit a lot from Decree No. 202/2013/ND-CP on fertilizer monitoring of the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued on November 27th, 2013 while also supplementing many new regulations.

Accordingly, MARD will list fertilizer under conditional businesses that require ministerial certification. Fertilizer producers must have a laboratory to control quality of input materials and output products, thus preventing incompetent companies from manufacturing and supplying low quality counterfeit products to the market and causing harms to farmers.

            Also according to Mr Hoang Trung, there are currently about 6,000 fertilizer products of 577 registered companies. In reality, the figure is as high as 10,000, leading to the fact that the low quality counterfeit fertilizers are widespread. The inspection process revealed violation of quality standards by many companies; in some cases fertilizers were even over-advertised to kill pests and to have effects of plant protection medicines.

            Speaking at the conference, Mr Nguyen Van Tam (Thanh Hoa Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) said that there were dozens of fertilizer production units in the province using “hoe and shovel technology”, in which raw materials were only roughly mixed by hoe and shovel before packaging and selling. Mr Tam stated that up to 60-70% of secondary and trace element fertilizers sold in the market were counterfeit or low quality products as the claimed ingredients were different from elements in real products and hence not meeting fertilizer standards. “It’s essential to regulate that fertilizer producers have a qualified laboratory to control quality of input materials and output products, so that companies must be legally binding on the quality of their fertilizers; in order to wipe out producers of “hoe and shovel-made-fertilizers”, Mr Tam proposed.

            Monitoring procedure must be reviewed

            Mr Nguyen Hac Thuy, Vice Chairman cum General Secretary of Vietnam Fertilizer Association, said that fertilizer market was now such a chaotic “battlefield” that we could be unable to monitor unless the controlling process is well-done. Mr Thuy cited a recent inspection of 56 production units in Hochiminh city, out of whic 20 units were non-licensed. Market Surveillance Agency (Ministry of Industry and Trade) checked 250 units, out of which 117 units violated regulations on fertilizer production and trading. Also according to Mr Nguyen Hac Thuy, It’s MARD that is delegated with full authority to monitor fertilizer market, however even up to 11 testing and certifying agencies of MARD also did not comply with prevailing regulations, which showed that it’s a must to review such quality control procedures and standards on fertilizers.

At the conference, Mr Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said that Decree No. 202 played down the importance of fertilizer testing when enterprises were allowed to carry out their own examination and announce the results. However in the draft of new decree, MARD shall tighten this stage and allow only competent and certified organizations by MARD to have the function of controlling fertilizers. Prior to this, enterprises must have a laboratory and personnel capable of analyzing and controlling quality of fertilizers in accordance with state authority’s standards. MARD continues to receive comments from enterprises, and leaders of Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in Middle and South regions to complete the draft Decree in order to complete the draft and propose it to the Government in June.

            Via Thanh Nien News, reported April 20th.

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