Press Release, 5th October 2023 Use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides in Kenya.
We acknowledge the recent joint press release by the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), aak/GROW and Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya) addressing concerns regarding pesticide safety and usage in Kenya. While it is essential to recognize the PCPB’s commitment to ensuring pesticide safety, crucial aspects warrant further discussion and clarification.
Assessment Criteria: We appreciate the PCPB’s efforts to align with international standards and regulations. However, we also see the need to follow a hazard assessment for registering very toxic pesticides (WHO 1a, WHO 1b, and so-called CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproduction toxic pesticides)). These hazard assessments focus on the inherent properties of pesticides, regardless of their use patterns. It is essential to strike a balance between risk and hazard assessments to ensure comprehensive safety, as many of the Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHP) mentioned in the recently launched report Toxic Business: Highly Hazardous Pesticides in Kenya are very toxic, for example, beta-cyfluthrin.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): We agree that the responsible use and handling of pesticides are essential. However, we must acknowledge that the responsibility for safe pesticide use is beyond the farmers’ ability. Required mitigation measures like buffer zones to safeguard communities or water resources often can’t be implemented. Beyond the responsibility of the farmer, pesticide companies should also play an essential role in ensuring the safe use, disposal and handling of their products through extended producer responsibility (EPR). EPR is now mandatory in Kenya, highlighting the shared responsibility among manufacturers, farmers and regulators to guarantee safe pesticide usage.
Right to Food: We fully acknowledge the importance of balanced pesticide use in securing food production within current agricultural systems. However, we emphasize the need for a balanced approach that ensures food security while minimizing health and environmental risks associated with the Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). The ripple effect of HHPs is seen in the reduction of Soil microorganisms, killing of pollinators and pollution in our air and water reservoirs.
It is a human right to have access to adequate and safe food, as well as to have access to a safe environment. We encourage PCPB to explore sustainable pest management alternatives that prioritize both crop protection and the long-term health of Kenyan farmers and consumers, and the environment.
The Reason for a Ban of Pesticides: While we acknowledge that some of the pest present in Kenya are not posing a risk to European crop production, we would like to emphasize that most of the pesticides that are banned in Europe are withdrawn from the market because of their unacceptable risk towards the environment and human health and not because of less pest pressure. This is out of rigorous scientific studies to demonstrate the risks. Alternatives to HHP use on specific pest problems in Kenya are already present but need wider communication and application amongst farmers’ communities. We would also like to emphasize that a system change of agricultural production is necessary and not just a substitution from one pesticide to the other, to achieve enough safe food in an enabling environment.
Finally, yet importantly, a collaborative effort among regulatory bodies, farmers, environmentalists and civil society is crucial to finding a balanced and sustainable approach to pesticide use, especially concerning the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in Kenya. We remain committed to supporting and ensuring the safety and well-being of Kenyan citizens, safeguarding the environment and upholding food security for the country.
For further inquiries, please contact
Phone Number: 0720871511.
Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN)
Route to Food Initiative
The Route to Food Initiative (RTFI) a programme of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Kenya promotes the realization of the Right to Food in Kenya through agroecology and food systems transformation. https://routetofood.org/