Fake pesticides, real problems: addressing Ukraine’s illegal and counterfeit pesticides problem

Ukraine, dubbed the breadbasket of Europe, is a grain-producing country that feeds people in European markets and beyond. Its fertile great plains stretch as far as the eye can see, undulating grains interlaced with family-owned dachas each with its own fruit and vegetable patch. In 2018, Ukrainian farmers cultivated a total of 30 million hectares of land, an area about the size of Italy.

Viacheslav Dzhulai manages a 370-hectare farm in central Cherkasy: “We grow soybeans and corn, which we then use for feeding livestock,” he says.

Fertile lands require special care to ensure high productivity, resistance to pests and diseases, and maintenance of the soil’s biodiversity. Pesticides—chemicals used in agriculture to control pests—are among the range of measures farmers take to protect their crops.

“We take care of the land all year round,” says Dzhulai, “and we use pesticides to protect our crops. It is very important for us to use the right chemicals, so we work only with original producers. Sometimes farms use poor quality pesticides, which can have negative effects later.”

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