Managing Obsolete Stocks

  • Disposal of the legacy of obsolete stocks of crop protection products is a long-term global issue.
  • Of an estimated 500,000 tonnes globally, much results from local manufacture in Eastern Europe and the Far East. Uncoordinated aid donations, particularly for locust control, and poor stock management have played a significant role in the accumulation of obsolete stocks in Africa.
  • Deterioration of stocks under poor storage conditions continues to the point of presenting a potential danger to nearby communities and to the local environment.  Some obsolete stocks include Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) capable of transcontinental migration when liberated into the atmosphere.
  • CropLife leading companies together with Shell, working within the CropLife Obsolete Stocks Program, have been engaged in the clean-up of obsolete pesticide stocks and the prevention of new stockpiles for more than two decades.
  • CropLife is actively contributing to the Africa Stockpiles Program.
  • Obsolete stocks also occur in other regions, including OECD countries.

Since 1990, the plant science industry has been working in a variety of countries to facilitate safe disposal projects. Facilitation has variously involved finding additional donor funding, organizing projects, supervising operations in the field or, when appropriate, reconditioning useable stocks. Such projects typically last for 2-3 years.

During the last 20 years, industry has participated in over 25 multi-stakeholder projects in 20, in collaboration with over 30 organizations, leading to the safe disposal of an estimated 15,000 tonnes of obsolete crop protection products. More rapid progress has to date been limited by the availability of counterpart funding. Currently the focus of CropLife International’s activities is the Africa Stockpiles Program, which seeks to safely dispose of an estimated 50,000 tonnes of obsolete stocks and associated wastes across the entire continent of Africa in a fifteen year timeframe and to put in place measures to prevent re-accumulation of obsolete stocks. Hopefully this signals a move to more international approach to addressing the issue.

A leaflet describing CropLife International’s obsolete stocks activities is available here and CropLife International’s position regarding obsolete stocks is available here.