- 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 if liberated into the atmosphere.
- CropLife International member 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 nearly three decades.
- CropLife International actively contributed to the Africa Stockpiles Program and continues to contribute to obsolete stocks safeguarding and disposal in collaboration with national and international development agency partners.
Since 1990, the plant science industry has been working in a variety of countries to facilitate safe disposal projects. Facilitation has involved finding additional donor funding, organizing projects, supervising operations in the field or, when appropriate, reconditioning usable stocks. Such projects typically last for 2-3 years.
Between 1991 and 2003, the crop protection industry participated in over 25 multi-stakeholder projects in 20 countries, in collaboration with over 30 organizations, leading to the safe disposal of an estimated 3,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides.
From 2003, CropLife International collaborated with other partners to implement the Africa Stockpiles Program (ASP), which sought to safely dispose of obsolete pesticide stocks and associated waste across Africa. By 2018 an estimated 9,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides will have been destroyed – see below.
Following the end of the ASP, CropLife International has continued to partner with organizations such as FAO and the World Bank to eliminate obsolete stocks on a country-by-country basis.
Additionally, since the 1990s, more than 15,000 tonnes were collected and destroyed in OECD countries by CropLife national associations, in partnership with local governments and others.
A leaflet describing CropLife International’s obsolete stocks activities is available here, CropLife International’s position regarding obsolete stocks is available here, guidelines for managing obsolete stocks are available here, and a handout on prevention and disposal of obsolete pesticides is available here.