Seeking Counterfeit Detection And Reporting For Crop Protection Products

Background / Description

The Open Innovation Platform (OIP), an initiative by the Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), aims to connect real business challenges to problem solvers.



Syngenta is a global biotechnology company and is one of the world’s largest producers of crop protection products. The company operates in 90 countries with 104 production and supply sites. Syngenta is committed to improving farm productivity, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalising rural communities through partnerships and collaboration. Currently, Syngenta pest control products are sold to farmers via distributors and retailers.

Counterfeiting in the crop protection industry is an endemic problem. An effective crop protection product can enable good harvests, while counterfeits lead to poor pest control and crop failure. Advances in counterfeit technology creates more vulnerability in the supply chain, which in turn eases the entry of fake products into the market.

Syngenta continuously explores new authentication (counterfeit detection) technologies. The company has explored several anti-counterfeit solutions, including (i) packaging-based authentication solutions, such as holograms, and Track & Trace, (ii) markers/tracer materials, and (iii) solutions involving chemical analysis tools (e.g. spectrometry). However, these solutions can be easily counterfeited or costly to implement. Syngenta’s own packaging partners may also be used by the counterfeiters. Solutions that target the farmers (end-users) may require consumer education which may be ineffective. Syngenta is also already committed to investing in the capability for QR codes on its products’ packaging, which is expected to roll out in 2020, hence QR code solutions will be out of scope.

In addition to authentication/counterfeit detection, the process of counterfeit reporting does not work efficiently today. Currently, farmers identify counterfeit products by their physical properties (e.g. sedimentation) and/or the biological efficacy in pest control. They can raise the issue and report the counterfeit to retailers, who subsequently report it to distributors and Syngenta. However, farmers often do not lodge a report for several reasons, including (i) fear of jeopardising their position with retailers, (ii) time and money spent for reporting and investigation, and (iii) lack of evidence of reporting (product could already be used). 

Syngenta is looking for innovative solutions to enable their end-users (the farmers) to assess authenticity of crop protection products and to report counterfeits easily and conveniently.


How can farmers assess the authenticity of a crop protection product, and have an easy and convenient method to report a counterfeit directly to Syngenta?

Technical Specifications

● Proof-of-Concept (POC) of an innovative solution that can empower farmers in Vietnam to authenticate Syngenta products and recognise counterfeit products
● Simple and cheap to implement on a large scale rurally; as a reference, the required quantity is expected to be upwards of 10 million units
● Solution is a packaging experience that authenticates the product
● Easily used by farmers at different levels of digital maturity
● Does not necessarily require access to high speed wireless networks to be effective
● Allows farmers who are victims of counterfeit products to raise a report directly to Syngenta Sales Team in a safe environment, via an easy and convenient method
● Solution does not utilise tried and tested mechanisms like holograms, track and trace, tracer materials etc., and is not easily counterfeited.
● Does not rely on heavy analytics so that it is applicable in different deployment scenarios



• A rice crop farmer in Vietnam purchases Syngenta pest control products via local retailers. The product packaging consists of security labels. The farmer is informed on how to recognise a unique sound made by the cap when is opened. Recognition of the unique sound would provide assurance that the package is tamper-free, and that the product is authentic

• A rice crop farmer in Vietnam who purchases Syngenta product also rents a satellite-based communication device (that is not dependent on 3G/4G networks). The tool can be rented loan-free to the farmers, with a security deposit. By scanning a security label on the packaging, the device can indicate to the farmer if the product is authentic. For example, upon scanning an authentic product, a green indicator will show. If the product is counterfeit, there will not be any indicator. In the event that the product is not authentic, the device will automatically send a note directly to Syngenta, alerting them of the counterfeit. This could mimic today’s technology based on QR codes and 3G/4G-connected mobile devices to authentic products via the cloud


• SGD 30,000 of prize money for each winner of this challenge (see Award Model)
• Potential to co-innovate and work with one of the world’s leading agriculture companies
• Opportunity to enter into partnership with Syngenta and scale the solution to multiple markets if successfully commercialised
• Possible deployment of solution in Vietnam
• Winner will be publicised by Syngenta at the end of the challenge



We are open to global and Singapore-based individuals, research providers and companies that have digital technology expertise and innovation capabilities. Some of these include Info-Comm and Media (ICM) start-ups, SMEs and larger companies. Problem Solvers should have the ability and desire to co-create and innovate with Problem Owners or/and other partners to translate their ideas into solutions that can address real business needs. 

There are no restrictions on the geographic location of the problem solvers who may choose to apply to this challenge. Initial POC scoping work will be conducted in Singapore, but selected finalist(s) are expected to travel to Vietnam for verification of POC. Syngenta will cover the travel and accommodation costs to Vietnam.


Further Details

Technical details of the problem statements as well as information related to the innovation calls can be found on the IMDA Open Innovation Platform (OIP) which you will be redirected to after clicking on the 'Proceed To Details' button below and filling up a short form with your basic information.

Preferred Business Model

  • R&D Collaboration
  • Business Collaboration (Joint Venture, Distribution)

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