This report focuses on the manufacture of pesticides and other agrochemicals, including information on the state and size of the industry, trends, research, development and innovation, environmental and health issues and other influencing factors. There are profiles of 23 companies including international players operating in South Africa such as Bayer, BASF and Syngenta and local manufacturer AECI. Other profiles include companies such as Oro Agri, UPL and River Bioscience.
The Manufacture of Pesticides and Other Agrochemicals
South Africa is Africa’s largest exporter of pesticides and related agrochemicals. Although pesticide export volumes have doubled over the past decade, South Africa is a net importer of agrochemicals and is wholly dependent on foreign suppliers for the active ingredients required in the formulation of chemical pesticides. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, supply has been affected by supply chain disruptions, shipping delays and stock shortages. Despite the strong performance of South Africa’s agriculture sector in 2021, pesticide sales growth was constrained by stock shortages and export volumes declined.
The industry is driven by climatic factors, a greater focus on improving crop yields and production efficiency and the control of harmful insect outbreaks. There is growing consumer awareness of the potential health and environmental risks associated with chemical pesticides and this is driving demand for organic products that are sustainably cultivated. Traditional chemical pesticides are increasingly being used in conjunction with biopesticides.
Environmental and health issues
Chemical pesticides pose a substantial threat to the environment and pesticides may also kill non-targeted plants and animals. Pesticides can also cause soil degradation, which can cause a decline in crop yields, threatening food security. Some pesticides may be carcinogens, irritate the skin or eyes, or affect the endocrine and nervous systems. Lobbyists say that many products do not comply with current international risk assessment standards. Another concern is the widespread availability of acutely toxic pesticides that are used to manufacture illicit drugs.