Promoting the Development of a Green Crop Protection Industry in South Africa
Promoting the Development of a Green Crop Protection Industry in South Africa
Technology transfer package for developing environmentally friendly bio-insecticides in South Africa


The agriculture sector plays a key role in the development and stability of the South African economy and influences the entire southern Africa sub-region. However, agricultural development has occurred unequally around the country. In some areas, the levels of agricultural development have not progressed due to old techniques used by farmers. Also, disease and insect pests often cause crop losses in these areas, dealing a fatal blow to local agriculture. To prevent pests and disease, smallholder farmers often buy low-quality pesticides, which pose risks to the environment.

Pesticide pollution has been a problem since the world's first generation of pesticides came into being in the 1940s. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are being replaced and banned around the world, and highly active, broad-spectrum, less toxic pesticides and their user-friendly and environmentally friendly pesticide formulations are gradually being marketed, vastly reducing the problems associated with the production and use of pesticides. But these advances have not yet benefited most developing countries. Hence, an urgent need exists to introduce and promote environmentally friendly and safe pesticide formulations in developing countries, including southern Africa.

Towards a Solution

The Technology Transfer Package for Developing an Environmentally Friendly Bio-insecticide of Emamectin Water Dispersible Granule Formulation in South Africa project addressed various challenges facing the pesticide industry in South Africa. The project supported technical cooperation between Nantong Pesticide Formulation Development Centre (NPFC) in China and the Villa Crop Protection Academy (VCPA) in South Africa to develop an environmentally friendly bio-insecticide.

Through this project, NPFC designed a new bio-insecticide formulation recipe based on the local context and needs and created a technology transfer package for the VCPA. The technology transfer package helped VCPA replace old polluting insecticide formulations based on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), thereby promoting the national development of a green crop protection industry in South Africa.

The project helped to protect the environment, promote human health, end hunger and achieve food security for the South African population while promoting sustainable practices in the pesticide industry, contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (health) and SDG 13 (climate action). The project also contributed towards SDG 9 (infrastructure, industrialization), since it promoted the development of the pesticide industry in South Africa by training technicians and providing technical solutions to address challenges and increase production.

Experts from NPFC visited South Africa to collect information about pesticides and the formulations being used, thereby completing a feasibility study on the Water Dispersible Granule formulation to replace the old polluting formulations (Wettable Power and Emulsifiable Concentrate) in the market. The experts also visited Nufarm Australia, Ltd. and the Du Pont Agricultural Company to understand the water dispersible granule pesticide formulation laboratory and pilot plant equipment, instruments, surfactants and adjuvants used for the bio-insecticide of Emamectin water dispersible granule formulation research, development and pilot plant unit.

A research and development team was established for the project. Two NPFC formulation chemists completed the research on the Emamectin water dispersible granule formulation recipe in about 12 months, which involved recipes, processing, analytical methods and quality standardization of the formulation.

This project helped South Africa replace partially persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which is in line with the Stockholm Convention on POPs and the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent, and to a certain extent, contributed to the restoration of local agricultural land and surrounding ecological environments. It helped ensure food security and biological safety and the sustainable development of the agricultural community.

The project trained more than 10 technicians using a Training of Trainers model, which was of particular importance in terms of the sustainability of the project, as it not only improved the R&D capabilities of the technicians, but the continuity of extension activities after the project was completed benefitted the wider local population.

The research results of this project and empirical models of technical cooperation could be disseminated as good practices in developing countries, particularly in the southern region of Africa. The fact that NPFC is a state-owned, non-profit, self-sufficient organization with many years of experience in research and development of environmentally friendly pesticide formulations was an important factor in getting access for South Africa to the new green technology in agriculture. Not only was the project a successful technology transfer initiative but it also demonstrated the benefits of South-South cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit. 

Contact Information

Xu Yayun, Project Assistant, NPFC

Countries involved


Supported by

China South-South Development Center Project

Implementing Entities

Nantong Pesticide Formulation Development Centre (NPFC) of China, Villa Crop Protection Academy (VCPA) of Republic of South Africa

Project Status


Project Period

1/2014 - 12/2015

Primary SDG

03 - Good Health and Well-being

Primary SDG Targets


Secondary SDGs

02 - Zero Hunger, 09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 13 - Climate Action

Secondary SDG Targets

2.4, 2.a, 9.5, 9.b, 13.b

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