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A consortium of agricultural growers association on Wednesday expressed its support for proposed government legislation that intends to strengthen pesticide control.

Officials of the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK), Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), Cereal Growers Association (CGA) and Veterinary Inputs Suppliers Association of Kenya (VISAK) said the country has one of the best regulatory systems in the world and the most rigorous in Africa.

“Pesticides are one of the most highly regulated products in the world and the proposed bill and seven regulations to upgrade Kenya’s globally benchmarked pesticides control products act will maintain the world’s best risk protection for Kenyans,” said the AAK CEO Eric Kimunguyi.

He said pest control products must meet locally-approved standards as well as take approval by leading global pesticide regulators as a prerequisite for registration in the country, adding that no pesticide should be used in Kenya if it has not been approved by one of the world’s best pesticide regulators.

The new regulation aims at further strengthening the East African nation’s arduous pesticide control, which already prevents any pesticide from being sold in the country that has been banned as a health hazard or pollutant under the Rotterdam or Stockholm Conventions, to which Kenya is a signatory.

The new legislation will create an independent pesticide control product authority; upgrade the qualifications needed to run businesses and premises handling pesticides; make pesticide stock records compulsory, and move the labeling on pesticides sold in Kenya to the global systems of hazard warnings.

Ojepat Okisegere, the FPC CEO, said pesticides must be used responsibly in Kenya to increase food production.

“We are advocating for responsible use of the chemicals by educating people handling pesticides up to the last level personnel,” Okisegere said.

Maurice Ogutu, the VISAK vice chairman, said safe use of acaricides is important because non-use of the tick-controlling chemicals leads to high economic loss.

Kenya is not a heavy user of pesticides and according to world rankings calculated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the country comes in as the 75th most intense user of pesticides out of 162 countries despite being Africa’s leading horticultural exporter.

Overall, the country uses an average of a quarter of a kilo of pesticides per hectare of agricultural land, compared with nearly 10 kg per hectare in Mauritius, and more than 2kg per hectare in Egypt and South Africa. Enditem.

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