NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29- Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) has constituted a task force to review toxic pesticides as a response to a directive issued by the National Assembly Health Committee following a petition to withdraw harmful toxic pesticides.
In a statement, PCPB Manager in charge of Registration of Pesticides Dr. Paul Ngaruiya said the task force work will be to internalize the recommendations and suggest ways of how the directives will be implemented.
He further stated that pesticides mentioned in the petition will be analyzed in two stages – by the agrochemical companies and then by PCPB. The molecules will go through both hazards and risk assessment tests.
“In response to the directives issued in the petition, we have set up a task force committee meant to internalize the directives and guide on implementation. So far the committee has held talks with the agrochemical industry and set out two-stage molecule analysis of the pesticides products: by the company and by PCPB. The analysis will include both hazard and risk assessment. The agrochemical industry has also been trained on how to do both tests,” Ngaruiya said.
The petition by the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Resources Oriented Initiative Kenya and Route to Food Initiative in 2019, which was presented by Uasin Gishu Women Representative, Gladys Boss Sholei, called for the withdrawal of harmful toxic pesticides available in the Kenyan market but banned in the European Union.
Dr. Ngaruiya spoke during a virtual round table for journalists organized by the Route to Food Initiative where PCPB explained the milestones it has achieved towards the recommendations by the Parliamentary Health Committee.
He added that the board is in the process of constructing a laboratory meant for carrying out residue analysis tests for food crops and soil.
“The lab will go a long way in assessing pesticide residue in crops, help improve their quality as well as ensure the food safety of Kenyan produce,” Ngaruiya said.
He called on development partners to support in equipping the laboratory to ensure it effectively analyses residue level of crops meant for both local and export markets.
Margaret Maumba, Assistant Manager, Compliance Services at PCPB added that food safety is an inclusive responsibility adding that the mandate is shared by other agencies including KEPHIS, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and the agrochemical industry.
“Let’s not forget that the responsibility of ensuring food safety doesn’t entirely lie on PCBP. Other government agencies and departments such as KEPHIS, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Health also have a part to play. To ensure that farmers and consumers are safe we need to work together. I will also like to urge farmers to come out and work with these institutions and improve their pesticides management skills as well as reporting fake agro-dealers.” remarked Magaret.
PCPB has promised to continue working in tandem with the other state departments and agencies as recommended by the Committee of Health to ensure that the health and environment are safe from harmful chemical pesticides.
“We are open to collaborations. We would like to assure the public that we are ready to work together with the other state agencies to implement the recommendations set out by the National Committee of Health,” Dr. Ngaruiya added.
In its recommendation, in December 2020 the Health Committee directed the PCPB and other relevant Government agencies to undertake an analysis of harmful pesticides in the country and withdraw them from the market within 90 days.