Figure courtesy of Pixabay.com
More than 100,000 citizens of Switzerland recently signed a petition that calls for a ban on the use of synthetic pesticides. If passed, the ban would apply to all farmers, industries, and imported foods, and it would make Switzerland the second country, after Bhutan, to implement a full ban on synthetic pesticides. Read more about it at: http://bit.ly/2IY4liJ.
Meanwhile, Switzerland has been accused of exporting banned pesticides to developing countries (https://bbc.in/2ITNEVm). Syngenta, the world’s leading producer of pesticides, is headquartered in Switzerland. Syngenta produces paraquat and atrazine which are herbicides known to have high toxicity to humans and the environment. Paraquat is linked to several chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, while atrazine is an endocrine disrupter that affects the reproductive system and increases the risk of cancer. The two herbicides have been banned for use in Europe by the European Union and by the Basel Convention which specifically bans movement of hazardous materials from developed to less developed nations.
All the while, crop protection chemicals are being promoted as vital agricultural inputs in Africa yet the hazards of pesticide use do not feature high on the priority list for Africa. If the citizens of a nation that hosts the world’s leading pesticide producer (Syngenta) are pushing for a total ban on synthetic pesticide use, is it not in Africa’s best interest to take heed?
At Supesta (http://www.supesta.com), our number one concern is the minimized push for the safe use of pesticides in Africa. As pesticide use escalates in Africa, we provide a service to those who see safe pesticide use as a growing need that has the potential to improve agricultural production goals or become a danger to humans and the environment.