Concerned food and environmental lobbies yesterday raised concerns against the overuse of agrochemicals in food production in the country.
Inades Formation Kenya, Pelum Kenya, Kenya Organic Network (Koan), and Biosafety Association of Kenya (Biba-K) warned that the use of unhealthy levels and types of agrochemicals was one of the major killers in the country.
Joseph Munywoki, Inades Managing Director, said that most pesticides are present in the country after being banned.
“Toxicity is an obstacle to the right to food and, therefore, food production methods that do not subscribe to the use of pesticides and chemicals should be adopted,” said Munywoki.
“Some of the foodstuffs rejected at the airports because of high residue levels, for instance, still find their way back to the local markets,” added Maina.
She said that up to 24 agrochemicals that are already in the market have the potential to cause cancer, while another 24 can cause genetic changes.
Studies have found that yet others negatively affect hormones and reproduction in humans and animals.
She noted that the locust infestation of 2020 worsened the situation. “Research found that as high as 10 times of the chemical amounts required to kill locusts were found in one case in Samburu County.” Maina added.
The deadliest agrochemicals include glyphosate, which was classified in 2015 as they cause cancer. Regulators in the US and elsewhere have since been under pressure to ban the use of the chemical.
The Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), however, banned glyphosate-based products in Kenya.
They notified that the continued use of banned farm chemicals exposes Kenyans to various deadly diseases.
Not only are the diseases deadly but genetic, this raised concerns after studies found that residues of toxic pesticides used in crop production are wreaking havoc on human body systems.
A study focusing on Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties found that tomatoes are among the basic food products on which pesticides are largely misused.
Experts challenged the government to regulate agrovets and agro-dealers to emanate the increase of the harmful products.