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Fake, low-quality fertilisers flood market

Update: March, 27/2012 - 09:14

HCM CITY — The Vietnamese fertiliser market remains unstable because of rampant distribution of fake and low quality fertilisers and this has also affected agricultural production, a senior government official says.

In a recent conference in HCM City, Vo Van Quyen, deputy head of the Market Management Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, more than 300 violations of quality and fake products are discovered a year on average in the industry.

Most of the violations had to do with fake fertilisers carrying labels of prestigious brands, he said.

According to the Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), a majority of substandard products available in the market were nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) fertilisers because these were in high demand and easy to mix.

Recently, authorised agencies found five establishments in the southern provinces of Binh Thuan and Binh Duong as well as HCM City making substandard fertilisers under a big trademark. Tests of samples taken showed much lower than advertised nutrient content.

More seriously, inspectors found potassium fertiliser samples produced by a company in Can Tho containing just salt and colouring.

Le Quoc Phong, general director of the Binh Dien Fertiliser Company and the deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association, said many small establishments were taking advantage of loose management to make substandard products and sell them in remote areas at cheap prices.

To deter such practices, Phong said the Government should tighten management from the point of issuing business licences onwards.

He also called for heavier punishment against those found making fake or poor quality fertilisers, saying current penalties were not strict enough to discourage the manufacturers from persisting with their fraudulent activities.

Cracking down

The agriculture ministry has recently issued a directive on enhancing management, inspection and dealing with violations in production and trading of agricultural materials.

The directive requires inspectors to seal all fake or substandard products they uncover, ask producers to recall those already sold and announce on the media the names of violating products and their producers.

Many experts have said agencies like the ministries of Public Security, Industry and Trade and MARD as well as the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association should strengthen co-operation with each other in implementing policies aimed at preventing the production, trade and use of fake and/or substandard fertilisers.

They say relevant agencies should strictly impose eligibility conditions on fertiliser production. Individuals and organisations wanting to produce or trade fertiliser products had to meet set criteria regarding production capacity, equipment, other facilities and environmental friendliness, they said.

In particular, they had to strictly comply with quality standards, they added.

The country produced 5.64 million tonnes of fertiliser and imported 3.63 million tonnes last year, meeting the demand for domestic agricultural production, said Truong Hop Tac of the Cultivation Department.

The country would need about 9.9 million tonnes of fertilisers of all kinds this year, with domestic production estimated at 7.25 million tonnes, he said. — VNS

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