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Pesticides in the Kenyan Market

The use of hazardous pesticides to produce food has come under increased scrutiny around the world and in Kenya. Alongside many other members of civil society, farmers, scientists and academics, the Route to Food Initiative continues to champion for methods of food production that mitigates the risks associated with exposure to toxic pesticides. We also join hands with the growing number of people in Kenya supporting agroecological transformation of the food system, increased investments in affordable biopesticides and training in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The damage caused by toxic pesticides is far-reaching affecting farmers using these products, consumers in urban markets, the birds and bees that support our ability to grow food, and the water and soils that support life. These effects are backed by evidence and science.

We have consolidated evidence into a dossier titled, Scientific Report on Pesticides in the Kenyan Market.” The dossier has been prepared by an expert task force on behalf of the petitioners in Public Petition (No. 70 of 2019) regarding withdrawal of harmful chemical pesticides in the Kenyan market, namely Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya (BIBA-Kenya), Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Resources Oriented Development Initiatives (RODI Kenya) and Route to Food Initiative (RTFI).

We have submitted the dossier to the Pest Control Products Board, in response to the PCPB circular dated 6 July 2021, calling for public comments on pesticides active ingredients in Kenya.

Stronger efforts must be directed towards investigating potential repercussions to human and environmental health after pesticides are legalised for agricultural application and from the pervasive practice of pesticide misuse in Kenya. While it is true that corporations, which have benefited financially from both legal and illegal uses of their product must acknowledge responsibility and act accordingly, the Kenyan government ultimately bears responsibility for maintaining the safety of its own people and of the biodiversity upon whose integrity a significant component of the economy rests.

We take this opportunity to acknowledge steps already taken by the PCPB to review and withdraw harmful active ingredients namely, chlorothalonil and diuron, via issuance of the circulars dated 21 August 2020.

The current review further demonstrates the Board’s commitment in ensuring agricultural production that mitigates the risks to human health, animals and the environment.

Download the dossier here.

Watch a short 3-part documentary called “The Food Challenge” to learn more about pesticide use in Kenya, and alternative solutions. Join the conversation and keep updated with information #ToxicBusiness.

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