24 февраля 2011

Pesticides 2011: Event report

In Russia the demand for pesticides is growing up, but officials` actions sometimes prevent the industry from qualitative development.

On Monday, November 28 Creon`s Forum "Pesticides 2011" was held at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow. This conference was the first meeting devoted to agro-chemistry that Creon held after world economical crisis. Chemicals for plants protection are the most important part of agriculture industry. Agro-chemistry, including pesticides, is essential for obtaining large volumes of production, which will be safe and cheap. There is a great potential in Russia for the growing use of pesticides, because one third of sowing lands is used without pesticides now.

Positive dynamics in industry in post-crisis period do not decrease the actuality of many issues. There are a lot of counterfeited and infringement products in domestic market, complex process of product registration. More ecological pesticides that meet modern requirements shall be used. About these problems General Director of Creon Sandjar Turgunov spoke in the entry speech of the forum.

Elena Alekperova presented survey statistics report about trends in Russian market of pesticides. More than 70% of cultivated lands in Russia are areas of risky farming, said Elena Alekperova. According to the data of the Rosstat, 76,5 million hectares were used in agricultural industry in 2011 in Russia. Total amount was 24,7 thousand of agro-manufacturers and 81,5 thousand of individual farmers. The sown area of crops increased by 73% in comparison to last year (in 2011 it was 38,1 million of hectares). Mainly cultivated agricultures were sunflowers, rape and sugar beet.

According to research of "Agrostat" company, there were 50 million hectares for irrigated crops on cultivated lands in 2011. More than 2,5 thousand agricultural manufacturers were in focus of this research. The market of protection chemicals for plants was determined in base of representative sample. Research has implemented the method of personality interview.

The market of pesticides in Russia is growing up. Negative tendentious of crisis and the results of drought during summer 2010 have been overcome. We shall note that the drought has stimulated interest for this type of fertilizers. In general the market has growth of 20,7%. The most active growth in percentage terms was evident in the use of pesticides for field crops like peas (45,3%) and sunflowers (34,8%). In absolute figures, the market of plant protection products used in field crops in 2011 is 25.9 billion rubles. There is also the growth of area for single treatment of field cultures. Dominant segment belongs to herbicides.

Also at the report information about the distribution of market was published: top ten of manufacturing companies has 84% of market; top five of them control about 62% of market. Among the leading producers of pesticides there are transnational chemical corporations (Bayer, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta) and Russian manufactures ("August", "SAHO Himprom", "AFD Chemicals", "Shelkovo Agrohim").

The main part of report was devoted to the dynamics of crop sowing area and fertilized area changes in different regions of Russia and correlation of these indicators with market dynamics. Geographically the growth of pesticides use is observed in West Siberia, Ural and Volga region. Speaking about grain crops, there is predominance of spring crops over winter ones. Herbicides and fungicides are used for the processing of spring crops. The use of complex products for crops protection is growing; the fields are more often treated only once. The level of customer loyalty that use the same means of plant protection every year is 50%.
Other agricultures were also mentioned at the report: cultivation of corn requires a big amount of herbicides, sugar beet cultivation reached record level of area covered and often require triple processing with chemicals.

In Russia only 31% of agricultural chemicals is bought with 100% prepay, while other are bought with payment delay.

In conclusion Mrs. Alekperova noticed, that, in general, the market of agricultural chemicals remains very conservative. She told that use of pesticides is growing because of the cultivated area growth. Financial situation of farmers has no influence on this tendency. In discussion after this report Alexander Lapko from "Rosagrohim" said that he isn`t sure about 25 billion rubles. He noticed that independent estimates has showed $500-600 million.

Andrey Zhivih leader of department of phytomonitoring and prognoses of "Rosselhozcenter" told about the volume of pesticides, main problems of phyto-sanitary status in Russia. According to the data of this organization 67 million hectares of cultivated areas were treated with pesticides during the first three quarters of 2011. During this period the amount of agricultural chemicals had exceeded in comparison with 2009 and 2010. Production of biologic pesticides was more than 853 tons. More than 565 tons had been manufactured in offices of "Rosselhozcenter". In manufacture of bio-pesticides Volga region and North Caucasus are leading. "Rosselhozcenter" include 78 offices in regions of Russia. The organization provides services in crop sphere and assists the Ministry of Agriculture.

The volume of bio-pesticides sales in Russia is estimated at 200 millions rubles per year. Bio-pesticides were used at the territory of 1 million hectares of open grounds. In Russia had been registered about 33 types of bio-pesticides.

For the first three quarters of 2011 44,4 thousand tons of pesticides had been used in Russia. It is more than it was in 2010 year (40,8 thousands tons). By the data of techno-analytics laboratory of company 3% of pesticides (2,5 thousand tons) were falsified.

The report had caused vivid discussion between the delegates of forum. The representative of Bayer Dmitriy Trishkin company has expressed his disagreement with the methods of the expertise. He noticed that results of the expertise didn`t seem correct to him because it was carried only on one substance and in fact such an expertise is promoting for manufacturing counterfeit production that can contain dangerous substances: solvents, adhesives, etc.

The president of "Russian Agro-Chemicals Union" Mikhail Ovcharenko asked about rates of expertise besides the volume of used pesticides, for example, levels of government subsidies for the purchase of pesticides and chemicals. The expert told that it can help to make real calculation of chemicals on the territory of our country. But the other participants of conference didn`t agree with the idea of possible calculation of future subsidies, because these rates have probabilistic nature and exist only as prognosis.

It is necessary to have more reliable indicators of efficiency, like, for example, size of cultivation areas cleared from weeds. More over representative of RACHN Vladimir Zaharenko claimed that his academy had a task to develop methods and analytics of market. By his opinion there are two optimal indicators of market volume: in million hectares and in millions of rubles, but this method isn`t popular.

Mikhail Ovcharenko has expressed doubts about the possibility to take into account the levels of government subsidies, because competitive companies don`t exist in Russia and without them it would be very difficult to realize target disbursement of the money. Now our manufactories can`t compete with foreign companies, because their production is 40 % cheaper.

The representative of "Sibbiofarm" said that several manufacturers in "Rosselhozcenter" branches make counterfeit products. Mr. Zhivih agreed that such problem exists.

Chief scientific officer of protection plants departments of RACHN Vladimir Zaharenko told about developments and achievements of the Academy in the Study of phytosanitary status and food security in Russia. Academy has created "Agroecological atlas", which has data about agriculture distribution, pests and plants diseases in Russia and CIS.

The speaker has an opinion that the main problem of the industry is the decrease of farming culture in Russia. The volume of mineral fertilizer used in Russia is 18 kilograms/hectare and the volume of pesticides is 300grams/hectare. It is much lower than the average numbers in the world: mineral fertilizer - 96 kg/hectare and 1,6 kg/hectare of pesticides. 51,6 million hectares of ground (from 74,8 million hectares cultural areas) have great sanitarian problems. In general 145, 9 million hectares (from 190,7 million hectares agricultural lands) are problematical. Abandoned areas were 43 million hectares. Population of pests increased.

The volume of Russian pesticides in the internal market is 9,8 billion rubles. It`s only 48% of Russian market. Per one hectare 438 grams of pesticides with value of 5,8 dollars are used. Total tonnage is 150 thousand tons for this season. The potential of Russian companies is 150 thousand tons of pesticides that indicates the critical problems in agrochemical sector in Russia. Vladimir Zaharenko has expressed opinion that if a half of production capacity work for inner market, phytosanitary situation in our country will be satisfactory and the speaker has expectations associated with the implementation of government program by 2020.

The participants of the conference noticed the problem of research cost increase, and their data are needed for government registration of pesticides. This problem is based on the absence of interest of the government and terrible situation with the law about this sphere.

Representative of "Center of quality and grain security" Vladimir Popovich noticed that government regulation is weak in seed production: the fond was not created, there is no seed certification and control of import. In fact, the federal law N248 has canceled some provisions of the Act about the control of security and quality of seeds and the federal law about plant quarantine (N 99) has gone through changes. Because of them the import of seeds and plants became uncontrollable by a government. A lot of counterfeit and diseased plants are imported to our country. Vladimir Popovich told the audience about his idea that it`s more important to walk away pesticides and make stress on usage of treated seeds. He also noticed that in expediency of chemical expertise shall be done not only for general mains, but by the whole formulary. BASF had the experience of special internship for customers and can be taken as an example. This practice has given very good result in struggle against counterfeit products.

Nowadays Rosprirodnadzor authority for certification and the environmental assessment of agricultural chemicals. Agricultural department stopped its control. Mikhail Ovcharenko told the visitors that changes had been made only in the most strict law points. There were numerous complaints from producers about too strict control procedures and then the decision about the simplification of procedures was taken. Yet, the participants of the conference mentioned that the representatives of big companies and people in government agencies with their own interested are involved in lobbying. That is why business shall be responsible and the law shall be clean and bright.

So, it was first result of the conference: necessity of law initiative, the place for discussion and promotion of the law projects to legislature offices. These issues are connected with the problems in food security, that is why it`s so important to organize discussion about them at government level.

The leader of ecological pesticides expert group from MSU Victor Gorbatov told about the main problems of pesticides` traffic regulation in Russia on the base of their environment assessment. He agreed with the opinion of his colleagues about low efficiency of government regulation at agriculture sphere. Continuing this subject he spoke about the issue of law, regulations and methodologies of registration and certification of pesticides. Laws that are used had been written in official language and many statements in them can be treated in two ways. The experts from scientific organizations and the business community are very rarely involved in the preparation of legal acts.

The reporter made emphasis in his speech on the practice laws of government pesticides expertise enforcement. Current the state ecological expertise is made for every chemicals. It contradicts the Federal law "About ecological expertise". According to this law only chemicals with new compounds should be checked on the expertise. The procedures of expertise also require special attention, because the decisions have often been arbitrary and groundless. Mr. Gorbatov proposed the system of acts, which can help to decide acute problems of registration of pesticides and to solve the issue of environmental assessment. The speaker spoke about the topic of normative and methodical provision of pesticides regulation too. Great attention shall be devoted to harmonization of national approaches to the assessment of risks of pesticides with international standards and rules.

Representative of Bayer Company didn`t agree with the idea, that expertise shall be held only for new chemicals. Pesticides of every type shall go through careful analysis.

CEO of "Alians-Agro" company Denis Badich told about the statistics of agricultural products import in Russia. The main importers of agriculture are Turkey, China, Ecuador, Poland and others. The large part of imported agricultural products is vegetables (about 25%) and fruits (about 50%). In spite of great subsidies in Russian vegetable farming, now import of low-quality products from China, Egypt and other countries is seen.

Currently Russian agriculture producers are in worse situation compared to importers, because services of control for pesticides and nitrates in imported fruits and vegetables is absent in Russia. (Today the part of imported fruits and vegetables varies from 50 till 100 % depending from type of agriculture products). 432 parties were imported from EU in 2010 of agriculture products containing pesticides, nitrates, nitrites in amounts far exceeding the maximum allowable limit established by Russian legislation. Its total volume was 8700 tons. That is 56% of all products imported to our country with analogical violations from all countries. Main countries that were importing dangerous goods were Poland, (200 parties, 3683 tons - 42,3%), Holland (23 parties, 1581 tons - 18,2%), Belgium (15 parties, 1034 tons - 12%), Italy (41 parties, 651 tons - 7,5%) Bulgaria (34 parties, 595 tons - 6,8%) and Spain (28 parties, 475 tons - 5,5%). In 11 parties of products was detected the excess of the European norms of pesticides on the values from 1.8 to 45 times.

The Government offices of countries-exporters paid little attention for a content of pesticides, nitrates and nitrites in agriculture products. The way out from this situation may be the creation of the system of government and social control of the content of the active ingredients of pesticides, nitrates and nitrites. The system is to hold the explanatory work with international specialized associations of manufacturers and exporters of food products of plant origin, to arouse their interest in application of the Russian standards and chemicals.

The reporter noticed that for the development of Russian market it is necessary to take measures to exclude counterfeit and depersonalized chemical products, to increase administrative responsibility for foreign agriculture manufacturers, who run business in Russia (like, for example, Chinese in region of Primorye; Koreans in regions of Volgograd and Arhangelsk and so on.).

Moreover, it`s necessary to create and propose the project of the law of regulation and certification of agricultural chemicals for Russia and The Customs Union. Also the need exists to join the efforts of pesticides and agrochemical manufacturers, farmers, NGOs and professional associations.
CEO of "Sibbiofarm" Alexander Krichevskiy told the members of the conference about modern technology for plants security that includes not only traditional chemicals for treatment of crops, but also biological means for the security of plants. Speaker said to the auditory that the major part of leading companies of chemical industry in the world had already created biological departments. As the example were given American company DuPont and Danish company Danisco that develop and manufacture biological supplements, ferments, etc. Russian companies are more passive. The reporter thinks that the situation on Russian market may change after the start of the government program of development biological industry, which can stop the process of reduction of pesticides production and make stimuli for domestic companies. Alexander Krichevskiy illustrated his opinion by following data: Russian biotechnological market in 1990 year was 5% from international, now we it is less than 0,01% from international market. In Europe the strategies of chemicals use reduction are active. In our country such arrangements are only in the experimental status.
According to the speaker`s words losses in the agriculture industry in Russia reach 100 millions tons of conventional grain units every year. The reasons of such losses are pests, diseases, weeds, non-compliance with requirements for storage and processing of products. 23 from 28 of pesticides were carcinogenic. They are detected in 40% of the samples of grain, vegetables, fruits and berries. There are 25 millions intoxications by pesticides in the world every year, 20 thousands of them have led to death.

In order to reduce risks Europe introduces significant restrictions on the registration and subsequent use of pesticides. In EU registration cost reaches 700 thousands euro for one pesticide for one culture. Russian agriculture requires the system that will reduce the use of harmful pesticides and the transition to integrated systems of plant protection, which imply the increase of biochemicals and entomophages usage. It can help agricultural companies to avoid emergency situations connected with losses because of pests and diseases, and also to provide the required level of ecological compatibility and security of manufactory. These measures will be the key to risk reduction and providing food security in Russia.

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