Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim faces illicit pesticide risk

Zim faces illicit pesticide risk

Southern Africa has a total of 500 million small holder farmers, the majority of whom are exposed to pesticide risks due to failure to handle pesticides, hence the SSP programme

Southern Africa has a total of 500 million small holder farmers, the majority of whom are exposed to pesticide risks due to failure to handle pesticides, hence the SSP programme

By Nyasha Chingono

THE illegal trade in counterfeit pesticides by unregistered dealers is putting farmers’ and consumers’ lives at risk as unregulated and often toxic chemicals enter the food chain, a government official has warned.
Illegal pesticide traders, using fake labels and stickers from bona fide pesticide dealers, are duping farmers desperate to buy the pest control chemicals at lower prices.
“The problems of counterfeit products and illegal trading are widespread in many parts of the world and cause enormous damage, both to agriculture, the environment and generally to humankind. This is of particular relevance to the pesticide industry. Sadly, this is no different in Zimbabwe where counterfeit and banned products are causing major issues,” Dumisani Kutywayo, a director of crop research and specialist services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, said.
The Fertiliser, Farm Feeds and Remedies Act Chapter (18:12) and Statutory Instrument 144 of 2012 (Pesticide Regulation) regulate pesticides trade in Zimbabwe, but management of pesticides has become increasingly difficult for regulators as the economy has become informalised.
In Zimbabwe, the Pesticides Registration Office is also responsible for monitoring counterfeit and banned products as well as illegal trading in non-counterfeit products.
Although the country has inspectors at ports of entry to ensure that all banned products do not enter the country, the streets have become awash with such fake pesticides as government fails to keep up with illegal dealers.
“Routine inspections are conducted to try to ensure that no illegal or banned products are marketed and used in the country. Although confiscation also brings another set of challenges of dealing with obsolete pesticides which are difficult to dispose of due to lack of adequate disposal mechanisms, many efforts are being done to curb the rampant incidences of such practices,” said Kutywayo.
CropLife, an organisation working with governments to ensure correct administration of pesticides, confirms Zimbabwe’s rising pesticide risk, saying a number of fake pesticides have been detected on the market.
CropLife has embarked on pesticides risk mitigation by introducing the spray service provider (SSP) initiative to educate farmers on the use of various pesticides.
CropLife hub chairman for east and southern Africa, Dirk Hartmann, told a meeting in Harare last week that his organisation was working with governments to phase out hazardous pesticides destroying crops.
“As a participant of this workshop you are certainly aware of the ongoing global calls and campaigns led by anti-pesticide advocacy groups to restrict and gradually phase out and ban highly hazardous pesticides,” said Hartman.
“As a matter of fact and in support of the implementation of these guidelines, all member companies of CropLife International have undertaken a voluntary review of their company’s product portfolio and have carefully analysed the potential risk of every single use of their products in the many different markets and environments where their products are being sold and used,” he added.
Southern Africa has a total of 500 million small holder farmers, the majority of whom are exposed to pesticide risks due to failure to handle pesticides, hence the SSP programme.
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