Key objectives:

1. Adoption of best practices in IPM and Responsible Use in the region.
2. Develop container collection schemes in all key countries.
3. Rollout of National “resistance management” programs in key countries.
4. Develop a PPE action plan for the region.
5. Formulate a structure to embrace Incident Reporting.

The use of crop protection and biotechnology products is essential for maintaining and increasing agricultural productivity and improving farmer livelihoods on the African continent.

However, this must be achieved with minimum risk to human health and the environment. To achieve this CropLife Africa Middle East, along with its member companies and associations, actively develops and promotes stewardship programs across the region.

Stewardship is a lifecycle approach to product management to ensure safe production, transportation, storage, handling and application and use of the product, as well as the proper disposal of waste. It maximises the benefits and minimises any risk from product use.

The industry recognises that effective stewardship is crucial for doing business in Africa and that it is especially important in low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) where regulatory enforcement may be poor.

Crop Protection Life Cycle Approach

The life cycle approach to crop protection is the responsible and ethical way to manage crop protection products from their discovery and development to their use and the final disposal of any waste. The overall aim of the stewardship approach is to maximize the benefits and minimize any risk from using crop protection products.

As part of the industry’s on-going commitment to product stewardship, companies, regional and national associations provide training in IPM and the responsible use of crop protection products. The objective of such training is to maximize the benefits of crop protection products and minimize any risks associated with their use. IPM/Responsible Use programs are important to the Plant Science Industry as they contribute to the sustainability of the crop protection industry, which values the efficient application of its products and services as an integral aspect of its social and ethical commitments.

Elements of the program include:

  • When and how to control pests, diseases, and weeds in line with IPM principles.
  • How to apply crop protection products safely and effectively if they need to be used.
  • The need for personal protection equipment when mixing and applying crop protection products and cleaning equipment.
  • How to avoid unacceptable risks to others and the environment.
  • How to minimize residues on the crop.
  • That in the case of an over-exposure an active emergency helpline number exists on all product labels. This could be both a local and international number.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about an abrupt halt to our in-country face-to-face training programs. Fortunately, we were already in the process of exploring the use of mobile technology to reach out to farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Our goal from 2020 to end 2021 was to reach approximately 1.0 million farmers in 6 countries using a series of SMS messaging focused on the timings of the growing season.

We are also engaged in using social media in a specific country where this technology is widely used. Wherever possible these programs have been undertaken in partnership with other stakeholders, mainly governments. Feedback from our pilot study in 2020 showed that both the concept and messages were appreciated and well accepted.

Our industry subscribes to the recycling or recovery of our empty pesticide containers as the ultimate goal. This prevents the re-use of the containers for the storage of food and water. It is essential that containers are decontaminated through “triple rinsing”. Plastic pollution causes harm to man and the environment. It can take hundreds of years for plastic to break down so the environmental damage is long-lasting.

We currently have 7 active programs in the region with a further 6 in various stages of development. In 2020 we were able to collect and recycle more than 5.2 million kg of plastics and expect to increase this by a further 1.0 million kg by end 2023. This is approximately 22% of the plastic pesticide containers placed on the African market

  • Disposal of the legacy of obsolete stocks of crop protection products is a long-term global issue.
  • Of an estimated 500,000 tonnes globally, much results from local manufacture in Eastern Europe and the Far East. Uncoordinated aid donations, particularly for locust control, and poor stock management have played a significant role in the accumulation of obsolete stocks in Africa.
  • Deterioration of stocks under poor storage conditions continues to the point of presenting a potential danger to nearby communities and to the local environment. Some obsolete stocks include Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) capable of transcontinental migration if liberated into the atmosphere.
  • CropLife International member companies together with Shell, working within the CropLife Obsolete Stocks Program, have been engaged in the clean-up of obsolete pesticide stocks and the prevention of new stockpiles for nearly three decades.
  • CropLife International actively contributed to the Africa Stockpiles Program and continues to contribute to obsolete stocks safeguarding and disposal in collaboration with national and international development agency partners.

Since 1990, the plant science industry has been working in a variety of countries to facilitate safe disposal projects.

Facilitation has involved finding additional donor funding, organizing projects, supervising operations in the field or, when appropriate, reconditioning usable stocks. Such projects typically last for 2-3 years.

Between 1991 and 2003, the crop protection industry participated in over 25 multi-stakeholder projects in 20 countries, in collaboration with over 30 organizations, leading to the safe disposal of an estimated 3,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides.

From 2003, CropLife International collaborated with other partners to implement the Africa Stockpiles Program (ASP), which sought to safely dispose of obsolete pesticide stocks and associated waste across Africa.

By 2018 an estimated 9,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides will have been destroyed – see below.

Following the end of the ASP, CropLife International has continued to partner with organizations such as FAO and the World Bank to eliminate obsolete stocks on a country-by-country basis.

Additionally, since the 1990s, another 15,000 tonnes were collected and destroyed in OECD countries by CropLife national associations, in partnership with local governments and others.

A leaflet describing CropLife International’s obsolete stocks activities is available here, CropLife International’s position regarding obsolete stocks is available here and guidelines for managing obsolete stocks are available here.

Resistance management is seen as an integral part of the stewardship approach to management of crop protection products and is regarded as an essential element of sustainable pest control. Promotion of voluntary resistance management strategies should be a priority for industry and non-industry stakeholders.

The region currently has 4 active Resistance Management Committees whose function is to develop proactive training programs ( for regulatory authorities, extension services and users), including the development and distribution of communication materials.

All crop protection products must be handled with respect and certain basic precautions must be followed. In some situations, such as during the mixing and loading of formulations, additional items of protective clothing may be required to ensure safety. Such additional items of protective clothing will be specified on the relevant product labels.

According to the FAO Guidelines for Personal Safety when Handling and Applying Pesticides, as a minimum precaution and to reflect real-life situations in LMIC, users should wear lightweight work clothing that covers most of the body, such as a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, a hat, chemical-resistant gloves, and boots that do not absorb spray.

A Spray Service Provider (SSP) is a farmer who has received special training by CropLife to apply pesticides and who hires out his services to (fellow) farmers to spray their lands.

This implies that untrained farmers will no longer handle pesticides, and that this application will only be undertaken by those who are properly trained and certified. CropLife Africa Middle East has developed the SSP concept to improve access to quality pesticides and the correct application of these, resulting in higher yields.
The SSP concept was successfully introduced in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia in a variety of crops.

12000 +

SSPs trained

200000 +


Learn about Spray Service Providers (SSP)


The Success of SSPs in the Vegetable Sector in Ghana


Building Blocks
Kwame is a Spray Service Provider (SSP) and lives in Gonse in the Greater Accra region. He is one of the 268 SSPs who was trained by CropLife Ghana in 2019, supported by the SNV/HortiFresh project. Together, the SSPs serviced more than 9,000 farmers over a 2-years period.


Solar pumping machine
Foster Gawa (43) lives in Agorve in the Volta region. With earnings up to 4,600 GHS, he gained himself a nice extra income that is much higher than he ever expected and decided to invest the earnings into a solar pumping machine and save on electricity to expand his farm and irrigation system.”


Two extra baskets
SSP Aaron Gadagbui (43) decided to offer other services, in addition to his application services. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is promoting the use of scales among tomato farmers to ensure that they are getting paid for the actual weight. Aaron, who is mainly servicing female farmers, noticed that most of them find the weighing process too cumbersome. Aaron collected scales from the MOFA office and helped several female farmers.