A team has been set up to review a range of harmful pesticides that continue posing food safety and health risks to Kenyans with a view to withdrawing them from use.
The move comes after a 2019 petition by the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Resources Oriented Initiative Kenya and Route to Food Initiative, which was presented by Uasin Gishu County women representative Gladys Boss, calling for the withdrawal of toxic pesticides available in Kenyan market yet remain banned in the European Union.
In its recommendation in December last year, the House Health Committee directed the Pest Control Service Products Board (PCPB) and relevant authorities to analyse harmful pesticides in use in Kenya with a view to withdrawing them from the market within 90 days.
Dr Paul Ngaruiya, PCPB manager in charge of registration of pesticides said that the insecticides mentioned in the petition will be subjected to both hazards and risk assessment tests in collaboration with agrochemical firms.
“We have set up a task force to internalize the directives and guide on implementation. So far the committee has held talks with the agrochemical industry and set out two-stage molecule analysis of the pesticides products,” Dr Ngaruiya said during a virtual roundtable organised by the Route to Food Initiative.
He noted that the board is constructing a laboratory for carrying out residue analysis tests for food crops and soil.
“The lab will go a long way in assessing pesticide residue in crops, help improve their quality as well as ensure the food safety of Kenyan produce,” he added.
He called on development partners to support equipping the laboratory to ensure it effectively analyses residue level of crops meant for both local and export markets.
Food safety is a responsibility shared by other agencies including KEPHIS, Ministries of Health, Agriculture and the agrochemical industry.
PCPB plans to work with the other State agencies as recommended by the House health committee to ensure that Kenyans’ health and environment are safe from harmful chemical pesticides.