Pakistan Agriculture News

Pesticide business: The vendor’s dilemma

Three years ago l began my journey into the pesticide business and was too happy at the thought of contributing to my country’s economy. I knew it would take some work to qualify as a vendor of chemicals, but my zeal could not be swayed so I embarked on what I believed would be an honest trade and one that would provide a good living as long as I persevered. This turned out to be quite a quest.

There are many legal requirements to fulfil along the way to hanging up one’s shingle as a pesticide vendor, the most important of which is the Certificate of Registration. One isn’t told up front the step by step process towards obtaining it so it’s a bit daunting when, at the end of a training period of 15 days in addition to all the paperwork one has already submitted, he is summarily sent off to submit the Training Certificate in order to attain a certificate of registration to vet another department only to be informed there is a “waiting period” of perhaps one to two months.

Wow. Again, I wanted this, so I waited… Finally, everything I thought was in order, but not quite.

Setting up shop does not only mean getting your premises ready and purchasing office supplies and going about your business with the hopes that all your advertising has paid off and clients begin to flood you with orders. To be in the pesticide business, according to vendor regulations, one must also be certain to openly display one’s Dealership Certificate and License Number at the front of shop at all times in addition to maintaining invoices with the appropriate header of one’s dealership. Also as vendor, I have to have a full representation of stock indicating that lam a responsible person in business. Having gone through all the steps as I did, I was glad finally to be a member of the agrarian society. Now, however, I’m not so content.

Here is the dilemma. I have just said that l am held to be a responsible business person and therefore represent that my product is viable. But what happens when the chemicals I buy from companies are not viable? The same Pesticide Ordinance 1971 now known as Agricultural Pesticides (Amendment) Act, 1997. which demands that I be trained and behave in a righteous manner at all times unfortunately turns the screw upon me and all Pakistani vendors when in case of lab testing my products will be found substandard or adulterated either I am having invoice and dealership of concern company.

Actually, it is neither the company, nor any top management representing that company who is held accountable, but, in fact, this I. l and, in some cases, local sale officer of that particular company gets what is commonly known as the dreaded FIR penalty. And there is no recourse.

Upon asking a typical legal representative in the field that “why the vendor is held accountable”. One will get the response as per pesticide ordinance 1971 now known as Agriculture Pesticides (Amendment) Act, l997 “Any person who imports, manufactures, formulates, sells, offers or exposes for sale, holds in stock for sale or advertises for sale an adulterated or sub standard pesticide shall be guilty of an offense”. Now the question arises.

Vendors or dealers are purchasing pesticides from pesticide companies by considering them viable products. These pesticides companies are registered with the government of Pakistan.

The bottle is sealed with batch number, manufacturing date and expiry date which are clearly mentioned on it. Moreover, vendor/dealer is also having dealership and invoice of company concerned. So in case of lab testing, pesticide found substandard/adulterated, the vendor is also being nominated in FIR by considering him guilty of an offence: This is double speaking, pure and simple as chemical composition might change from time to time and there is no mechanism exist for a dealer or vendor to make sure that all the pesticides present in his possession are viable within the expiry date. I’d like to propose the FIR end as it stands as quickly as possible and suggest following: The originators of the chemical composition of pesticides are held accountable doing impartial field laboratory testing at their bases of operation; Hold accountable only the company’s management who knowingly and wilfully sells substandard (eg, diluted, adulterated, contaminated) products to the vendors; Those vendors/dealers must be exempted from dreaded FIR penalty in case of pesticide found substandard or adulterated who are fulfilling all the legal requirements for doing pesticide business; The most egregious problem now lies with the originating companies, therefore so should the greatest imposition, followed by the distribution companies then guilty vendors with all due legal.

Source The Nation