We need to crack down on dangerous pesticides

In Summary

• in Kenya European companies are selling 75 types of pesticide that have been banned in Europe.

• Neonicotinoids have wiped out bee populations which pollinate crops and increase yields.

A worker at Mombasa showground sprays pesticide on plants.
A worker at Mombasa showground sprays pesticide on plants.
Image: FILE

A new Pesticide Bill to regulate the agrochemical industry is in the pipeline (see P10).

Organic farming cannot feed the entire global population. Therefore we must accept chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.

However, some chemicals do more harm than good, especially the neonicotinoids that have wiped out bee populations across Europe and America. Pollinators like bees, bats, birds, butterflies and beetles give us one out of every three mouthfuls of food. Crops grow better and fruit tastes sweeter with pollinators nearby.

Neonicotinoids are banned in Europe because of the long-term threat they pose to agriculture. They are absorbed by plants and so we end up eating them ourselves. They should not be on sale in Kenya.

Yet European companies in Kenya are selling 75 products that have been banned in Europe, China 55, and India 16 such products.

The Pesticide Bill, when passed into law, will allow government to regulate more effectively the importation of pesticides and herbicides that harm human health and the environment. The sooner it passes, the better.

Quote of the day: "They do not want to work hard to feed a large family. And that is why they opt for birth controls."

John Magufuli
The Tanzanian president was born on October 22, 1959