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August 22, 2011

30% of the Fertilizers Sold in Parana Are Sub-Standard

Farmers in Parana have long suspected that the fertilizers they have been purchasing contained less active nutrients than what was registered on the label. That has now been confirmed by the Agricultural Inspection Service of the Secretary of Agriculture in the state of Parana. In a recently released study, they indicated that over the last twenty years 18% of the fertilizers sold in the state did not contain the amount of active ingredients that were listed on the label. The situation has gotten considerably worse over the last five years when an average of 30% of the fertilizers sold did not meet the formulation listed on the label. The fertilizer ingredients that was most often sub-par was the phosphorus content.

State officials feel the situation has not actually gotten worse in recent years, but that improved testing techniques and rapid response laboratories have allowed inspectors to more quickly identify fertilizers suspected of being sub-par and taking them out of commercial distribution. The annual consumption of fertilizers in the state is approximately 3.4 million tons and farmers in the state also purchase annually three million doses of soybean inoculants.

The state of Parana is the only state in Brazil that actively monitors the quality and quantity of active ingredients in the agricultural inputs purchased by farmers. Of all the agricultural inputs monitored by the state Department of Agriculture in Parana, 8.2% did not meet the label requirements, but fertilizers were by far the worst offenders. The misrepresentation of active ingredients is considered fraud and represents a significant loss on the part of the farmers who are paying for ingredients that they are not receiving.

The Secretary of Agriculture in the state has asked farmers to help put pressure on the state legislature to adopt legislation that tightens standards for fertilizer production and increases penalties for any products that are found to be sub-standard.