Although the legal regulations on fertilizer management, production and business had had a positive effect on the small fertilizer facilities, businesses’ business & production activities, in reality it still could not be controlled strictly, counterfeits and substandard, fake products were spreading without being handled seriously, it continued to disrupt the fertilizer market, affecting the honest fertilizer businesses.

Currently, many poor-quality fertilizers such as Kali, DAP, NPK were sold on the market along with the products of reputable businesses and to sell the poor-quality products, many agencies would sell the quality products with the price lower than the ex-works price for the purpose of selling it along with the poor-quality products and gain a high profit from “low quality bait with a high price”. This problem caused a lot of difficulty and had left a significant impact to many reputable fertilizer businesses domestically.

Due to the current situation, at the end of 2019, the competent authorities of some provinces such as Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Dak Nong … had intensified in controlling, detecting and handling several companies, agricultural supply stores that had distributed fake, poor-quality fertilizers to help the farmers.

For example, at Le Van Dien agricultural supply store (VTNN) (Gia Loc Commune, Trang Bang District, Tay Ninh), the competent authorities had discovered the acts of selling fake fertilizers, NPK 28-11-9 fertilizer (50kg/bag). In addition to a 30-million VND penalty for selling fake fertilizers, the competent authorities also enforced Le Van Dien agricultural supply store to return the illegal profit, 18.6 million VND, which was gained from the violation.

Nguyen Huu Tai agricultural supplied store at Trang Bang District, the competent authorities had discovered two companies supplying fake fertilizers, the quality was below 70% compared to the announced product quality record, the products were: PMC Ao Giap Kem (Zinc armor) fertilizer (manufactured on February 1, 2019, expiration date: 02 years, 500ml/bottle) of a Company at Vung Tau City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province.

In Binh Phuoc province, the competent authorities had discovered that Phu Nghia agricultural supply store at Hamlet 1 Street 10, Bu Dang District was selling fake fertilizers (product’s quality was below 70% compared to the announced product quality standard) which were the RICH NPK 15-15-15 +TE soluble fertilizers. The competent authorities had fined 30 million VND for the act of selling fake fertilizer of Phu Nghia agricultural supply store …

Thanks to the timely actions of competent authorities, it had partially controlled the rampant of fake, poor-quality fertilizers; however, the inconsistent control of many localities was also one of the reasons, allowing this situation to keep going on partially, for example, at Co Do District, Can Tho City, many agencies were exploiting this methods, selling poor-quality products with authentic ones aggressively, they would sell urea fertilizers of some reputable manufacturers at an unexpectedly low price, which was a contrary, as the manufactures sold urea fertilizers to Agency level 1 with the price: 6.300-6.500 VND/kg but the lower-level agency would sell to farmers with the price 5.000-5.500 VND/kg; this huge differences in the fertilizer industry were a hard question, and after investigating they would know that it was a “high quality fertilizers” to attract customers to buy “poor-quality ones” which were low-quality products with misleading names such as: Kali 61, Super Kali, but in fact it was only 31%, or Dam Hat Duc (opaque grain nitrogen fertilizer) 46% but in fact it was approximately 25%; or DAP 18-46-0 but in fact it was approximately 20% while these products’ price would be nearly the same as authentic products with required content circulating in the market.

In fact, the agencies’ method, selling “snacks with beers”, to farmers to gain high profit not only affected the quality of agricultural products, caused a significant impact to the reputable manufacturing businesses in the market, it would also cause damages directly to farmers, since they would have to pay for an overpriced product, while the prices of agricultural products were unstable, drought, diseases, … now they have to suffer other costs occurred from the business frauds of some agencies.

Therefore, the competent authorities, Agricultural inspector, local directorate of market surveillance must intensively check and handle any agricultural supply store that sold poor-quality, fake fertilizers to farmers, in particular the current situation, selling poor-quality products with authentic ones.

We recommended farmers to be extra careful and check thoroughly when buying fertilizers according to this recommendation: select from the reputable local stores, choose from a familiar product manufactured by the reputable brands; check the numbers and percentage % of nutrition contents on the front and back of the product package to see if it is consistent or not while buying; check that whether the packages are still intact and not broken or any sign that the bags have been opened and re-sealed.

We believed that agricultural supply stores, agencies cooperated with some businesses to manufacture low-quality products and sell it with reputable products to scam farmers for profit, was unacceptable. The competent authorities should regularly inspect, check and handle strictly the violations such as the above cases to contribute to a modernized agriculture development and bring back high economic efficiency for our farmers. 

Quang Minh