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It is presumed that at least 30% of seeds in Ecuador have an illegal origin. Thanks to the Ecuasem-SICPA alliance, it will be possible to authenticate seeds on the market and verify their legal origin.
SICPA, market leader in security inks and leading provider of secured authentication, identification, traceability and supply chain solutions, is now a strategic partner of the Ecuadorian Seed Association (Ecuasem) to combat seed piracy and counterfeiting in the country.
The signed agreement seeks to strengthen existing elements to fight against this problem in Ecuador, through the application of brand protection technology that allows for rapid authentication of products, validation of their legal origin and protection of the integrity of the supply chain. The proposed solution combines physical and digital security, including visible, invisible and encrypted features allowing real-time verification through mobile applications.
Seed piracy seriously affects producers and importers, as well as farmers and ultimately the country as a whole. In addition, the use of pirated seeds leads to low yielding crops, soil contamination, proliferation of pests and large economic losses. According to Ecuasem, it is estimated that 30% of seeds sown in Ecuador are counterfeit. This problem mainly affects those that give rise to mass consumption products such as rice and maize.
"We have a very strong concern at Ecuasem and all the efforts we make are to protect our end user, the farmer. Seed piracy also damages the image of companies and brands, directly attacking their good name and their good intentions when selling their products," said Carlos Cadavid, president of the Ecuadorian Seed Association, Ecuasem.
In their efforts to protect legal seeds and counteract piracy, Ecuasem and its affiliated companies have chosen to apply SICPA's solutions to their packaging, allowing easy and intuitive at-a-glance verification of the product by any actor in the distribution chain and by farmers. On the other hand, a secure QR code will provide a digital identity to each product for real-time verification purposes through a mobile application that not only validates the QR code but also allows access to important product information.
"We opted for this alliance with SICPA because we want to generate a change in Ecuador. This is a very good tool to reach the farmer directly, highlighting the importance of using certified seed and how to verify that what they are buying is really what they want and need," added Cadavid.
Through the Ecuasem - SICPA alliance, a precedent is set on the importance of caring for and protecting agriculture and the processes that converge in it, taking into account that, for Ecuador and several countries in the region, this activity is one of the pillars of their economy.
With more than 70 active customers worldwide and more than 3 billion products marked and protected with brand protection solutions, SICPA has proven experience in the effectiveness of its solutions. In addition, it has established itself as a trusted supplier to the seed and agrochemical industry with successful project references, highlighting the "Semente Legal" programme in Brazil to which several seed associations such as Unipasto, Aprossul and Ibrafe have adhered, reducing seed piracy in that country.
Such initiatives, in addition to bringing greater transparency in markets and building confidence in the industry, also help farmers to improve productivity and develop more sustainable farming practices.