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by Jianping Qui


Beginning with the production of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the late 1950s, the Chinese pesticide industry has developed greatly, making remarkable progress especially in the recent decade, and now has formed a completed system including pesticide R&D, intermediate materials and formulation production. There are about 2 600 pesticide producers (including those producing public health insecticides) in China, with a production capacity of 850 000 tons (counted in 100 percent) of over 600 varieties, 800 000 tons of formulation and over 20 000 formulated products, becoming the largest consumer and the second largest producer country in the world.

The management of pesticides in China is divided into four parts: Pesticide Registration, Pesticide Production, Pesticide Standards and Pesticide Market Supervision.

Pesticide registration

According to the Regulation on Pesticide Administration, agriculture administration is responsible for the pesticide registration and supervision in the whole country. The Evaluation and Adjudication Committee of Pesticide Registration is made up of administrative and technical experts from the following ministries:

The committee has a meeting at least once a year to discuss the full registration of pesticides to a new a.i. and other important management affairs. In these departments, MOA, MOH, SEPA, NDARC and AFSMC are the major five important departments.

The Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals, Ministry of Agriculture (ICAMA) was established in 1963, directly under the Ministry of Agriculture of China, which is responsible for the detailed affairs of pesticides registration and management in the whole country with the following principal responsibilities: pesticides registration, quality inspection, biology test, residue test, market supervision, information service, technical exchange, foreign cooperation and consultation. So it is the most important institute for pesticides management in China.

There are nearly 100 staff, and about 80 percent of them are professional personnel. It owns laboratories of more than 4 000 square meters, which are well equipped with advanced instruments, and are capable to do various tests of pesticides. ICAMA is also the National Center for the Pesticide Quality and Supervision and Testing.

At present, almost every province and municipality directly under the Central Government and autonomic administration regions has established "Institutes for the Control of Agrochemicals" (ICAs or ICAP) which are responsible for primary evaluation of pesticide registration and other detailed affairs of market supervision and management, conducting tests and evaluations of pesticide quality, efficacy and residue, training and guiding pesticide enterprises in there provinces. Up to now, the total personnel in pesticide management is more than 30 000.

Pesticide production

The State performs a licensing system for pesticides production. The administrative department of National Development and Reform Commission (NDARC) is responsible for issueing Production Licenses and approval documents.

Pesticide standards

General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) is responsible for managing the National standard and Industry standard of pesticides.

Pesticide market supervision

Both GAQSIQ and SAIC are also involved in the supervision of pesticide quality management besides the MOA. The pesticide advertisements are evaluated and inspected by MOA and SAIC.

Rules and regulations

The principal rule of pesticides management in China is the Regulation on Pesticide Administration, issued on May 8, 1997 by the State Department. The Regulation regulated the pesticide registration and all the pesticides produced in China or imported to China must be granted for registration. The Regulation also requires production licensing which means the pesticide production in China must obtain Production License or approval document. In November 29, 2001, the Regulation was revised to meet the requirements of entering WTO. In July 2004, the Regulation was revised again to include the definition of Me-too. There also are some laws and rules concerning pesticides management, such as Product Quality Law, Standardization Law, Advertisement Law, Regulation on Hazardous Chemicals Management, etc.

The related local governments and departments also established relevant rules and regulations to comply with the Regulation on Pesticide Administration. Every province, municipality directly under the Central Government and autonomic administration regions issued its local Regulations on Pesticide Administration. MOA and former Ministry of Chemical Industry established and issued Implementation Procedure Regulation on Pesticide Administration respectively in 1999 and 1998. MOA and State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) jointly issued Pesticide Advertisement Inspection Measures in 1995. MOA and Ministry of Health (MOH) issued Guideline on Pesticide Safe Use to specify and harmonize with Regulation on Pesticide Administration. Up to now, China has formed a legal system of pesticides management.

Technical norms

Pesticides management is a systematic programs, it includes the inspection and management of product quality, safety and efficacy, packaging, transportation, storage and use. The concerned departments established standards and guidelines and other technical norms to regulate and instruct pesticide production, use and management.

At present, China has made various formulation standards of pesticide products, including nearly 180 national and industry standards and 15 000 enterprises standards of product quality. According to pesticides management rules of FAO/WHO and some developed countries, Data Requirements of Pesticide Registration, Guideline on Pesticide Field Efficacy Trial, Guideline on Pesticide Residue Trials, Guideline on Pesticide Environment Safety Evaluation Trial, Pesticide Registration Toxicity Trial Methods, Pesticide Toxicity Evaluation Procedures and other national and industry technical standards are issued so as to standardize pesticide registration trials (tests) and guide registration evaluations. General Rules of Pesticide Packaging, Sampling Methods of Commercial Pesticides, Check Rules of Commercial Pesticides, General Rules of Pesticide Labels, Toxicity Classification and Signs of Pesticide Formulation, Names and Codes of Pesticide Formulation and other related standards are stipulated to guide pesticide registration and relevant management. Guideline on Safe and Rational Use of Pesticides and such national technical guidance are published to instruct safe, scientific and rational use of pesticides. All these standards and rules are in line with FAO/WHO standards.

A. Pest and pesticide management

In general, there is currently no national IPM Law in China. The IPM is mentioned in the Pronunciamento of IPM in 1975 and Regulations on Pesticide Administration in 1997. Though the Agriculture Department has promoted IPM projects for many years, it should be formally named in the prospective Plant Protection Law.

IPM has had a great success with the control of rice roller moth and cotton boll worm; other successful cases were on vegetable, maize, forest, etc.

There are three main points that limit the promotion of IPM, as below:

For some pest control, especially for some insects, have the significant problem with the resistance, such as cotton boll worm, diamond-back moth, some kinds of aphids, etc. So the government and industry suggest to farmers to use different kinds of pesticides, recommend new a.i. and provide them the mix-formulation. More than half the pesticides in the market are mix-formulations, such as OPs-CARBs, OPs-PYs, etc. But China government does not allow tank-mixture formulation to apply for the registration by now.

B. Testing, quality control and effects in the field

In general, the quality of pesticides is improving in recent years due to government supervision and the development of the industry. 70-80 percent products are eligible according to a selective survey of the market. MOA has a strong system to supervise the quality of pesticides in the market almost in very county. Agriculture department of province has the right to punish the poor quality (e.g. specification, package, label, period of validity, etc.) of pesticides or illegal (e.g. non-registration products). GAQSIQ and SAIC are also govern the market supervising and punishment.

The standards of pesticides product, not only national standards and industry standards, but also enterprise standards are all evaluated by ICAMA, and all the standards are met or are more strict than FAO specifications. So, the China pesticides standards were drafted with reference of FAO specifications, but not comply with relevant FAO specifications.

There are two national laboratories (National Center for the Quality Supervision & Test of Pesticides) for monitoring pesticide quality, and one is located in ICAMA, the other is located in a Chemical Industry Research Institute. There are two or more laboratories in every province for the test and supervising the quality of pesticides produce or sale in their province. In all the laboratories, HPLC or GC is equipped. In the ICAMA's laboratory, HPLC, GC, GC-MS, HPLC-MS, GC-IR, etc. are equipped.

There are limits to the collaboration between the industry and the government to monitor pesticide use in the field. Only a few enterprises developed new analytical methods and introduced them to the government by now. In fact, the main analytical methods to check the pesticides and supervise the quality are coming from the registration data. All the enterprise standards are required to update every three years by the Product Quality Law, so ICAMA can get the renewed enterprise standards at any time.

C. Health and environmental information

MOH is in charge of the health of plant workers and the users (farmers). The main problem in factories is dust-contamination, especially for WP formulation. In the process of manufacture (include mixing raw material and packing), the workers deposit the product randomly, they contact the chemicals frequently and lack decontamination equipment and respirators. Farmers are used to store a small quantity of pesticide in their house, so it is very dangerous to children and livestock. When using the pesticide in the field, the farmers also lack personal safety equipment, such as respirator, exposure suit, gloves, veil, etc. MOH has published the data on pesticides poisoning, there were 2 044 cases of occupational poisoning and 5 cases of death in 2003 (No data was published in 2004).

SEPA is in charge of the supervising of environmental contamination on pesticides. All the poisonous chemicals must be registration on SEPA by the law and most of pesticides are poisonous, so it is consider that many pesticides should be registration on SEPA. The contamination by using pesticides is a problem in certain areas. I have no data on the national, but there are some cases on pesticides, which have been noticed by the government.

1. Fipronil is highly toxici to fish and shrimp:

After the farmer used fipronil in rice field, the fish and shrimp, which were breed near to the field, are killed in a short time. According to the investigation by government, plant, institutes, a guideline for safely use of Fipronil was published.

2. Carbofuran is highly toxic to red-crowned crane and other birds:

Carbofuran only be permitted manufacture to granule and seed treatment formulation in China, but they are temptingly to birds. Many red-crowned cranes have been killed for the using of Carbofuran near to the habitat in these years (Note: Red-crowned crane is a kind of Class I protected bird in China). The ICAMA are organizing a project to research how to safely use of Carbofuran to birds.

3. Aldicarb is highly toxic and has high risk to under-ground water.

Because of the characterization of high soluble in water, Aldicarb is forbidden to be used the area of high level of under-ground water. According to the test and investigating, the government allows the Aldicarb can be use on some crops and in some certain area.

MOA has published The Guideline for Safety Application of Pesticides. It regulates nearly 400 residue limits including about 170 a.i. on more than 20 crops. As a National Standard, it administers to monitor the safe use of pesticides, food residue and import/export farm product inspection. There are 54 test units that are empowered to undertake the residue tests for the pesticide registration. Almost every province has 1-2 Province Centers or MOA's Centers to monitor the safe use of pesticides, food residue and import/export farm production inspection. The main instruments are HPLC and GC. There is one National Centers assigned by MOA, which is located in ICAMA. There are 8 person and sets of instruments, including HPLC, GC, GC-MS, HPLC-MS, HPLC-MS/MS, MS/MS, SPE, GPC, ASE, AAS, etc. The Residue Center in ICAMA has established a project in 2004 to monitor pesticide residues in vegetables, fruits and tea of organic food; 5 823 samples were tested and the eligibility rate for residue was about 95 percent on average.

Generally speaking, MOA, MOH, GAQSIQ, and SAIC are all involved the management of food safety. For pesticides, MOA is in charge of the farm production, GAQSIQ, and SAIC are in charge of processed food. MOH is in charge of accidents.

D. Trends in pesticide manufacture, use and trade

China Pesticide Industry Association (CPIA) is the association, which is empowered by National Development and Reform Commission (NDARC) to issue the Production License. Another function is an information system between the factories and government. They have own publications and promulgate the information on pesticides every 10 days or more. The data of pesticides imported, exported and manufactured in 2004 are listed below:

In all the pesticide produced in China, insecticides shares 48.9 percent, fungicides shares 10.5 percent and herbicide shares 26.4 percent.

Year 2004

Tons active ingredient

Value Currency: USD

Pesticide Imports

27 627 (TG and Formulation)

146.85 M (CIF)

Pesticide Exports

391 587 (TG and Formulation)

1 187.13 M (FOB)

Pesticide Manufacture

780 000 (a.i.)

Insecticide Imports

6 823 (TG and Formulation)

37.51 M (CIF)

Insecticide Exports

209 624 (TG and Formulation)

447.25 M (FOB)

Fungicide Imports

10 321 (TG and Formulation)

55.91 M (CIF)

Fungicide Exports

57 755 (TG and Formulation)

215.14 M (FOB)

Herbicide Imports

9 625 (TG and Formulation)

49.30 M (CIF)

Herbicide Exports

175 430 (TG and Formulation)

475.51 M (FOB)

PGR Imports

188 (TG and Formulation)

1.90 M (CIF)

PGR Exports

7 686 (TG and Formulation)

30.75 M (FOB)

Rodenticide Imports

87 (TG and Formulation)

0.23 M (CIF)

Rodenticide Exports

1 030 (TG and Formulation)

3.32 M (FOB)

Other Pesticides Imports

13 (TG and Formulation)

0.06 M (CIF)

Other Pesticides Exports

10 621 (TG and Formulation)

11.41 M (FOB)

Every batch of pesticides import or export should get a certificate, which issue by ICAMA, and show it to the Customs, the certificate shows the pesticide has been registration and could be sold in China. So ICAMA has the data for almost all the data on pesticides name, quantity, value and export or import.

In China, NDARC require enterprises to collect and record the data on manufacture and treading, NDARC and CPIA cooperate together.

There is a problem with illegal trade in pesticides. The registration of pesticide should spend a long time and cost lots of money so illegal trade in pesticides will never stop. On the other hand, since some chemicals are multi-functional, it is difficult to distinguish the use to the Customs. A few pesticides pass through Customs in the name of intermediate material or others. But it isn't a serious problem, with the communicating of ICAMA with the Customs, the quantity of illegal trade in pesticides is reducing step by step, and there is a small quantity of illegal trade by now.

E. Selected standards

MOA and NDARC control the high toxicity pesticides strictly in processing and using in China. According to the Regulations on Pesticide Administration, extremely and high toxicity pesticides are forbidden to use on vegetable, fruit, tea, Chinese medicine herbs, melon and public health. To reduce the acute poisoning, environmental contamination and crop residues, five OPs with high acute toxicity, i.e. methamidophos, parathion, parathion - methyl, phosphamidon and monocrotophos have been forbidden to be registered as mixture formulation and as single ingredient formulation; they could be registered only by TG plants and could be used on cotton, maize, rice and wheat only. By the end of 2006, there is no formulation registration and use on any crop in China. These compounds were produced and used plentiful. So, to replace the compounds in the market, the government invests more than 60 million US Dollars to research other compounds formulation (lower toxicity and more environmentally friendly) and agriculture method. In other hand, the investing will give the plants too which used to produce mentioned compounds to do the new products R&D and set up new equipments. Other banned ingredients are list as below:

Pesticides Banned to Produce and Use


Time of enforcement

Arsenic, Acetate, Mercury compounds,

Late 1960's

Dieldrin and Aldrin



BHC, DDT, Dibromochloropropane, Dikushuang


Ethylene dibromide





Promulgated in 1990 and enforced in 1992

Iminoctadine (Befran)


Tetramine, Silatrane





Promulgated in 1997, production banned in 2000 and use enforced in 1992

The packaging of pesticides is prescribed by General rules of Pesticide Packaging, Sampling Methods of Commercial Pesticides, a. General Rules of Pesticide Labels is another national standard draft out by ICAMA. In the standards, government requires all the labels should indicate the toxicity classification and how to safely use and deposited. The pictographs, recommended by FAO are also recommend and could be used on the labels.

The ICAs and ICAMA do selective examinations of labels in the market every year. In general, the eligibility rate of label in the market is about 70 percent. ICAMA will issue an electronic label prospectus on the internet, which authorized by ICAMA, at the end of 2005 or early 2006, everybody can check them through internet, supervising the label in the market should be more easily and strictly.

There is no national training program/projects focusing on risk reduction yet. Some plants and local association are engaging this job occasionally.

Unfortunately, there is almost no practice or available services to collect and dispose of used containers and left-over pesticides also. Although the government recommends farmers to dispose the used containers safety, the dissemination is limited and it is difficult to carry out by farmers. In fact, farmers always throw used containers in the field or throw them away with other common rubbish; some even wash them and use them as a container again.

There are amounts of outdated or obsolete pesticides in the factories or with dealers. Some of them are manufactured again as the material, some of them piled up for many years. ICAMA and SEPA are planning and preparing a project to set up several facilities in the country, which should be used to deal with the used containers and outdated or obsolete pesticides in collaboration with GTZ.

According to the Regulation on Pesticide Administration, all the pesticides, including those used in the field and public health, domestic or import, must be registration in China. Every pesticide has one and only registration number. Almost all the pesticides in the market are registered by ICAMA. ICAMA publishes the registration information of pesticides in internet and periodicals. So it is easily to distinguish whether a pesticide has been registered and supervised in the market.

Licensing system for pesticide stores and transportation is prescribed by Guideline for Safety Store and Transportation on Hazardous Chemicals, which was issued by Ministry of Communications (MOC). But when it is put in practice, the licensing system is not successfully performing because of lack of monitors.

Conclusions and comments

There are five scopes of the Code that are particularly important for China and should be paid more attention to, as below:

China government has pursued the pesticides management for more than 40 years, and got many experience on it. There are 3 important strengths on pesticides management, as below:

There are two weaknesses in our management:

The first a lack of human resources. For example, there are more than 1 200 staff working for US EPA on the pesticide registration management, more than 80 staff work for the Registration Division, and other staff work for States to do the same work, but there only 90 staff (including administrative and financial, etc.) working for ICAMA, ICAs in provinces have no right to do the work of pesticide registration. On the other hand, there are too many factories and products in China, more than 2 600 plants are allowed to produce pesticides and about 2 500 new products got temporary registration certificates in 2005 to date.

The second weakness is farmer education. In general, the education level of farmers in China is poor and most farmers have only primary school education. As a result, it is difficult for them to have any knowledge about pesticides. They also lack channels to get the knowledge, almost half of knowledge on pesticides comes from other farmers. On the other hand, the government's provision of information and investment of pesticides to the farmers is limited.

All in all, I think the bottleneck of pesticides management is the general development level of China. So the most important affairs, which the government should do, are to keep the stabilization of society and developing the economy.



Selected Country Statistics:

Agricultural Population

852 million

Agricultural Land:

154 million ha

GDP $1 237 145 million

Agric. GDP: 15.4%

GNI per capita: $940

Hunger: 11%

FAOSTAT Pesticide Data

Export $729.5 million

Import: $134.0 million


GDP = Gross Domestic Product; GNI = Gross National Income; Hunger = Population below minimum energy requirement; FAOSTAT = latest data entry between 1998 and 2002

Institutional Profile























Inst., Univ.

Industry Associations: CropLife China, China Pesticide Industry Assoc.

Non-Governmental Associations:

A. Pest and Pesticide Management

IPM policy declared?


IPM mentioned in...

Crop Protection Policy?


Agric. Sector Policy?


Other laws/documents?


National IPM Program?



IPM extension projects?


IPM research projects?


Pest resistance problems?


B. Testing, Quality Control and Effects

Laws for pesticide specifications?


Low quality products in market?


Quality control laboratory?


Own analyses in 2004: 116

Outside analyses in 2004:?

C. Health and Environmental Information

Data on pesticide poisoning cases?


occupational exposure cases: 2 044

accidental exposure cases: ?

intentional/suicide cases: ?

Pesticide poison facilities?


Number of facilities:

Poison Information and Control Centers?


Number of centers: 1

Significant environmental contamination?


Data on effects on wildlife & ecosystems?


Pesticide residue monitoring system?


Number of analyses 2004: 5 823

D. Pesticide Manufacture, Use and Trade

Pesticide Volume


$'000 Value


27 627

146 850



391 587

1 187 130


258 000

5 670 000

Pesticide Use Profile


$'000 Value

Agriculture (total)

258 000










Public Health




E. Selected Standards of Code of Conduct

Illegal trade estimates?


Estimated amount 2004:?

Collection of old containers and pesticides?


Inventory of outdated/obsolete products?


Operational pesticide registration system?


Violations in 2004

Existing facility licensing system?


Inspections in 2004

Highly toxic products restricted?


Questionnaire responses: Yes = Yes; - = No;? = don't know; (blank) = no answer

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