• Farmers in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia argue there's no scientific proof that pesticides are dangerous, say a ban would lower food production.
• MPs led by Uasin Gishu Women Representative Gladys Shollei have tabled a motion in Parliament to ban 262 types of pesticides.
Many farmers oppose a proposal by MPs to ban 262 types of pesticides over claims that some cause cancer and infertility.
The farmers in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia — who are not scientists or doctors — argue there is no scientific evidence linking pesticides to cancer and say a ban would lower food production.
“We believe the negative talk on pesticides is out of misinformation and rumours which have no scientific basis. But we know that were it not for pesticides then food production would be dead by now,” prominent farmer in Uasin Gisho Ben Keptoo said.
Kiptoo said large scale-farming requires the use of pesticides because otherwise, it would be impossible to control weeds, pests and disease attacking maize, wheat, horticulture and floriculture.
Farmer Mursin said they work closely with agriculture experts to ensure pesticides are used safely.
“Over the years we have been using pesticides authorised by the government through the Pesticides Control Board and I have seen any negative effects, nor have other farmers, Mursin said.
Uasin Gishu Woman representative Gladys Shollei is leading MPs who want the government to ban the importation and use of 262 types of pesticides, which she claims are linked to cancer and other diseases.
Shollei claimed most of those products had been banned in Europe but were being dumped into the country for use by farmers, yet the government was not acting to safeguard the health of Kenyans.
She claimed more than 11,600 tonnes of harmful pesticides are imported annually. She has tabled a motion in Parliament seeking a law to ban them.
But CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Okisegere Ojepat who toured several farms in the North Rift region said there are clear national and international guidelines on the use of pesticides.
He dismissed claims that pesticides were the cause of diseases like cancer caused by ingestion of pesticide-treated foods.
He is not a scientist.
“We export so much produce to Europe and there is no way the European nations can manufacture harmful pesticides for sale to our farmers and then buy fresh produce from the same farmers," Okisegere said.
He said experts have been educating farmers on the safe use of pesticides. “Our farmers have knowledge of pesticides and we have not had cases of negative effects, Okisegere said.
Trans Nzoia County ward agriculture officer Moses Wafula said they had been working with farmers and other stakeholders on the safe use of pesticides.
“The county has also been supplying some of the recommended pesticides to support food production and we monitor farms on follow-up, " Wafula said.
(Edited by V. Graham)