HCM CITY (VNS)— The continuing glut of fake and low-quality fertilisers affects agricultural production and causes financial losses for farmers, and drastic solutions are needed, delegates warned at a seminar in HCM City yesterday.
The Market Management Department said the problem was worsening with an increase in the distribution of spurious fertilisers and locations where they were found and the entry of sub-standard products from China.
Market authorities busted 1,390 cases of fake fertiliser production and trading last year and in the first half of this year, seizing 917 tonnes of fertilisers and slapping fines of VND17.2 billion (US$813,238), Do Thanh Lam, deputy head of the department, said.
Most of the violations were to do with fake products carrying labels of prestigious brands, Nguyen Hac Thuy, permanent deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association, said.
A majority of them were urea, DAP, and NPK fertilisers because these were in high demand and easy to fake, he said.
Authorities found many establishments in the provinces of Binh Thuan, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dak Nong, Dong Nai, Hai Phong, Phu Yen and others passing off fakes as big brands.
"Tests of samples found much lower nutrients than advertised."
Inspectors found fertiliser samples containing bricks, stones, clay and colour powder, he said.
Thuy and many other delegates said many small establishments were taking advantage of loose oversight to make substandard products and sell cheap.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said to deter such practices the country needed to take a series of comprehensive measures.
"The most important is to complete legal documents on fertiliser quality and national standards for each kind of fertiliser, which will be fundamental for management agencies to manage production and trading of fertiliser products," he said.
Relevant agencies like the Ministries of Public Security, Industry and Trade, and Agriculture and Rural Development and the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association should work together to keep an eye on the fertiliser market, he said.
Delegates agreed that the Government should tighten oversight right from the stage of issuing licences.
Relevant agencies should scrupulously impose eligibility conditions for fertiliser production.
Individuals and organisations wanting to produce or trade in fertilisers must meet the criteria set for production capacity, equipment, other facilities, and environmental friendliness, they said.
Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy head of the Crop Production Department, said "there are still many intermediary levels involved in the fertiliser distribution system, making it difficult for authorities to monitor quality and price."
To ensure a sound fertiliser market, the Government must set criteria that fertiliser trading and distribution establishments have to meet, he added.
Delegates also called for more stringent punishment for those found making fake or low-quality fertilisers, saying existing penalties do not go far enough to deter fraudulent activities.
The country is expected to need around 10.3 million tonnes of fertilisers of all kinds this year. Local production meets 80 per cent of the demand. — VNS