New study shows toxic pesticides in Sukuma, tomatoes and corn in Kenya »Capital News
NAIROBI, Kenya June 13 – A recent study showed that corn, sukuma wiki and tomatoes grown in Kenya were grown using highly hazardous pesticides (HHP).
According to the World Health Organization, HHPs are dangerous to human health, animals and the environment. In many countries, HHPs are found in food, putting the health of consumers at risk. They are particularly dangerous for farmers and farm workers exposed to them.
Speaking at a public webinar on the state of pesticide use in Kenya, Dr Silke Bollmohr, toxicologist and senior scientist at EcoTrac Consulting, said Kenya’s staple food is not clean for consumption. This follows research conducted in collaboration with the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), which showed excessive use of HHP by Kenyan farmers in Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Machakos and Meru.
“A recent study we carried out in collaboration with KOAN showed that most farmers in Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Machakos and Meru use very dangerous pesticides on a massive scale on the most important crops in Kenya: maize, sukuma wiki, tomatoes. and cabbage, ”said Dr Silke Bollmohr.
“These HHPs are known to have been banned in the EU and more recently in the US, but are still available and sold in the Kenyan market,” she added.
According to Dr. Bollmohr, the pesticide Chlorpyrifos present in these vegetables is not registered for use in vegetables in the first place. Agrovet dealers, however, recommend this HHP pesticide for unsuspecting farmers. Chlorpyrifos is registered for use in 24 products. His presentation also showed pesticide residues in tomatoes and the sukuma wiki that far exceeded the recommended maximum residue levels (MRLs).
Edward Njaibu, a farmer from Rumuruti spoke about the challenges facing farmers on the ground. Multinational pesticide companies and agro-dealers have brainwashed farmers into relying excessively on chemical pesticides to protect their crops from pests. This practice makes farming expensive.
According to Njaibu, farmers have little or no information about safety guidelines for pesticide use, including the need for protective equipment while spraying. The misuse of these pesticides is also evident in the production of crops such as cabbages and tomatoes.
Denile Samuel, Labor Rights Coordinator, Women on Farms Project (WFP) in South Africa shared her experience working with women agricultural workers in South Africa. She explained that many women she works with are unaware of the various health problems brought on by exposure to toxic chemical pesticides due to lack of access to protective gear.
The webinar was hosted by the Route to Food Initiative (RTFI) with the aim of educating the public on the state of pesticides in the country as the world celebrates World Food Safety Day. This three-part public webinar series will feature different speakers, with the next taking place on June 14, 2021, featuring the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), among others.
This year’s theme for World Food Safety Day, “Safe Food Today for a Healthy Future,” emphasizes that producing and consuming safe food has “immediate and long-term benefits for people, planet and economy ”. It also recognizes that the systemic links between the health of people, animals, plants, the environment and the economy will help us meet the needs of the future.