Combating the smuggling of pesticides in Brazil

Article by the Head of the Inspection Service for Inputs and Plant Health at MAPA



Marcelo Bressan is an agronomist, from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and is currently the Federal Agricultural Auditor and Head of the Inspection Service for Inputs and Plant Health (SISV / SFA-PR) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) of Brazil.


Bressan writes the following article for AgriBrasilis.



Pesticides can only be produced, exported, imported, marketed and used in Brazil, if previously registered with MAPA, after meeting the requirements of MAPA, ANVISA and IBAMA. If the pesticide is registered, it means that this product has met all legal requirements regarding agronomic effectiveness and practicality, safety for the health of food applicators and consumers and negative impacts on the environment.

Its use in crops should still meet other requirements, such as the occurrence of the pest at levels of economic damage, after all control or management alternatives have expired, which implies the real need for use. In this way, this pesticide will control the pests, will not cause phytotoxicity in the crops and will not cause damage to health and the environment, if used in accordance with the recommendations on the label and package insert, respecting the prescriptions of the qualified professional contained in the agronomic prescription.

The rural producer must still acquire the pesticide from a trader registered with the state agricultural defense agency, with an invoice and with the obligation to return empty packaging, within a period of up to one year, counted from the date of purchase. This would be the normal and legal scenario, which does not happen with smuggled pesticides. For this reason, these products must be fought by Organs inspection and police agencies and rejected by rural producers who do not want to participate in this criminal activity.

The user profile does not follow a logic. Even farmers who are members of cooperatives, with structured and well-organized rural properties, who defend, in the discourse, Brazilian agriculture or are against the most varied crimes of society, such as corruption, theft, among others, are involved in illegality when they acquire smuggled pesticides, in the inconsequential search for competitive advantages in production costs.

Smuggling would not be sustained without the buyer farmer, so when we talk about smuggling, necessarily, in addition to the criminals specialized in illegally internalizing the product across the border, whose criminal network is interconnected with other prohibited goods such as drugs, weapons and cigarettes, there are who commit the same crime when purchasing the illegal pesticide.

Anyone who illegally imports or exports merchandise that depends on registration, analysis or authorization by a competent public agency, as is the case with pesticides, is smuggling, with a penalty of 2 (two) to 5 (five) years of imprisonment, as provided in the Brazilian Penal Code, Decree- Law nº 2,848, dated 12/7/1940, amended by Law nº 13,008, dated 06/26/2014.



Those who acquire, receive or hide contraband pesticides also incur the crime of smuggling.

There are also administrative infractions and crimes provided for in art. 15 of Law No. 7,802, of 7/11/1989 – Pesticides Law and in art. 56 of Law No. 9,605, of 12/02/1998 – Law on environmental crimes, which provide for fines of up to 2 (two) million brazilian reais (R$), in addition to a prison sentence of 1 (one) to 4 (four) years.

Statistics on the use of smuggled pesticides in Brazil are not accurate, but the numbers are certainly significant and cause concern. In the latest integrated inspections carried out by MAPA on rural properties in Paraná, in conjunction with other agencies, it was found that around 10% of the rural properties inspected used illegal pesticides.

The most used products are those with solid formulations, containing the active ingredients: Thiamethoxam, Emamectin benzoatre, Clethodin, Imidacloprid, Metsulfuron, Fipronil, Lambda- cyhalotrinlotrina, Halosulfuron, Avermectin, Acetamiprid, Thiodicarb, Nicomil, Nitroguanidine, Nicosulfuron and Clodinafop.

The fight against illegal pesticides aims to preserve the integrity and sustainability of agriculture, health and the environment. From agriculture, by ensuring that the commercialized pesticide comes from, is effective in combating pests, is recommended by a qualified professional and does not cause damage to crops.

From the health of people, the user / applicator and the consumer of the food, through the interruption of exposure to active ingredients and unknown components, to toxicologically relevant impurities, arising from inadequate and unknown production processes and to the consumption of food contaminated with residues above permitted limit and even unknown residues, which can cause serious and irreversible damage to health. From the environment, preventing organisms, fauna and flora from being exposed to the risks of products without origin in their composition.

Even with the intensification of the actions of MAPA and other inspection and police bodies in recent years and, even with the disadvantageous exchange rate difference, the smuggling of pesticides in Brazil still results in losses with unacceptable impacts for agribusiness and for Brazilian society.