NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24–Pesticide manufacturers are urging the government to uphold the use of pesticides after lobby groups tabled a petition in parliament seeking to ban over 200 pesticides.
Agrochemicals Association of Kenya CEO Eric Kimungunyi says the ban would push Kenya into near instant food insecurity, reduce the amount of food produced and expose Kenya to harmful pests that are not found elsewhere.
“It is a huge gravity to throw away our pest control act since the products undergo tests to ensure they are safe for use, if we stop using them then we will affect our food production in the country,” said Kimungunyi.
At the same time, Fresh Produce Consortium Chief Executive Okisegere Ojepat defended the use of the chemicals targeted by the ban saying they have been thoroughly tested by government agencies to establish their safety.
“It is therefore not right for us to go out and bombard the world with information that is isolating Kenya as if we stand out as the only country that is non-compliant and yet the country remains one of the biggest exporters,” said Ojepat.
Petitioners had moved to parliament to push for the ban of the pesticides currently being used to tame desert locusts and Fall Army Worm, which have infested some parts of the country.
The petition presented in Parliament in September 2019 by Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Shollei is on behalf of the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Resources Oriented Initiative Kenya and Route to Food Initiative.
The lobby groups said that there has been an increase in the prevalence of pesticides in Kenya, posing a risk to health and the environment.
They have identified 24 products in the Kenyan market that are carcinogenic, 24 that can cause damage to genetic changes, 35 that can interfere with the hormonal system, 140 that can affect the nervous system and 262 products that show effects on reproduction toxicity.
The advocacy groups have noted that some of the products registered in Kenya have been withdrawn from the European, Chinese and Indian markets after being linked to different types of cancer.