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Moving Plant Protection Products Across International Borders

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Plant protection products, the pesticides and other products that protect crop health, are perhaps the most critical input a farmer can use in a given growing season beside the plants themselves. Utilizing insecticides, fungicides, or any other necessary plant protection product may prevent losses of up to 50% of crop production. While pesticides are critical to increasing food security and the economic livelihoods of agricultural workers, developing countries often do not have sufficient access to the products necessary to ensure efficient crop yields, providing opportunities for American agribusinesses to supply their innovative products to countries in demand.

But as plant protection products fundamentally alter agricultural landscapes, import/export rules vary country by country according to each government’s environmental protection laws. Exporting pesticides to international markets may at first glance seem complicated. However, by exercising proper due diligence, good communication with domestic and foreign government entities, and collaboration with knowledgeable partners (such as USAID’s Private Sector Activity team), exporting plant protection products to regions in demand becomes straightforward. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

How to Export Plant Protection Products

It is best to identify potential destinations for plant protection product exports through government entities such as the U.S. Commercial Service or the Private Sector Activity. PSA, for example, assists local partners in the Greater Caspian Region seeking to import American pesticides, and collaborates with the local food safety authorities to ensure U.S. products are eligible and approved for entry. Once the export destination and foreign customs compliance are ensured, it is time to complete the necessary domestic paperwork.

There are two forms of pesticides permissible for export from the United States, pesticides that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and pesticides that are not registered with the EPA. Exporting EPA-registered pesticides simply requires proper labeling compliance according to the product’s registration. Unregistered pesticides intended solely for export also require proper labeling compliance, as well as the submission of a foreign purchaser acknowledgement statement (FPAS).

Products that satisfy the EPA’s documentation requirements must still clear the foreign destination’s customs and border protection, meaning that businesses also need to conduct due diligence on country-specific chemical-import policies. The EPA also requires all exporters of plant protection products to keep export records and submit annual reports to the agency.

Working with End-Users

Since environmental factors, agricultural capabilities, and regulations vary country to country, it is important for American plant protection product distributors to work closely with their international end-user counterparts to ensure effective use of their products. The EPA’s labeling requirements provide a sufficient base of information, including ingredient statements, warnings, directions for use, and use classifications. Producers, however, know their product’s best practices, and through clear communication with end-users about situation-specific product application, they can facilitate greater crop yields and create lasting business relationships. PSA can assist participating American agribusinesses by developing company-specific product instruction and application videos for end-users in their target language.

The international trade of plant protection products is critical to the global effort to ensure food security and efficient food systems. Working together with knowledgeable partners can easily and effectively help your business to export to demanding countries around the world.

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