Due to the fast growing population in Uganda, there is an increased need for food hence a quest for increased agricultural production and productivity. However, facilitated by the warm humid climate throughout the year, there is a widespread occurrence of pests and diseases on many crops. For this reason, pesticides have gained greater use in Uganda to mitigate this effect, but there is continuous criticism about the quality of the pesticides offered on the market. A lot of these products are fake, adulterated, mis-branded, not tested and therefore not approved by the regulatory authority. Use of such products is a killer that endangers regional markets as well as livelihoods of individuals directly engaged in both production and trade of these commodities. It risks the health of those involved in application, consumers of products along the value chain and also causes great loss to poor farmers making them poorer. That said, pesticide users have limited knowledge about available genuine products, and how to differentiate genuine from the fake. Some of the users are also unable to read and understand pesticide labels.
My idea is to clean out counterfeit pesticides from the market as a way of promoting sustainable synthetic crop protection.
The project will create public awareness at ground level through live broadcast radio talk shows, good TV publicity, recorded spot messages, jingles played on radio, training farmer groups as well as pesticide dealer groups on the risk related to use of counterfeit pesticides, how to distinguish genuine from fake, how to read and interpret labels. I also intend to do a pesticide quality assessment exercise countrywide and give a status report that will support enhancement of regulatory policies.
Key stakeholders will be district agricultural officers and officials from the ministry in charge of agriculture. The ministry is the regulatory authority that will help to publish and disseminate information on registered pesticides in the country as a way of exposing all banned, unregistered and fake pesticides on the market. The ministry officials, in accordance with section 4 of the Agricultural Chemical (Control) Act 2006, have the mandate to confiscate these products in case we need to undertake such an action. The district agricultural officers on the other hand, will help in mobilizing farmers and pesticide dealers to attend the sensitization workshops to take place at district level.
Key beneficiaries will be small scale farmers who use pesticides for commercialized agriculture, pesticide dealers (those in retail outlets that trade in pesticides countrywide) and large crop enterprises (horticultural) known to use high level of pesticides.
The proposed outcomes of the project will have a socio-economic impact through increased farmer income and increased knowledge on genuine pesticide products, improved safety, human and environmental health provided the pesticide applicators follow label directions. The results from this project will also facilitate enhancement of pesticide industry policies and standards on safe use of genuine products and technologies. Furthermore, there will be sustainable food production and food security while maintaining high levels of environmental compliance.
The success of this project is to be measured by carrying out a pesticide quality assessment on the market before the project commences and then will do another assessment after a period of one year. Data from these two exercises will then be used to analyze the change in quantity of non-registered, banned, fake and mis-branded pesticide that were found on market before and after the clean out project.
To ensure sustainability of this project, a training manual will be developed to help replicate the training to farmers and pesticide dealers on a continuous basis. A database for quality of pesticides is to be developed and all information from this project is to be published and disseminated for future reference.
I am passionate about cleaning out counterfeit pesticides from the market because I want to make a contribution to improve livelihoods of farmers in my community since they feed the world and make it possible for us to eat safely and sustainably. I am also aware of the great losses arising from the various interceptions of my country’s agricultural exports especially to the EU market due to the chemical residues and high toxicity levels that are as a result of use of the wrong pesticides during production. This can be mitigated by use of the right quality and quantity of pesticides. If given an opportunity to be part of the IUPAC next generation program 2019, I believe it will be a good ground for me to share with and learn from other participants, researchers and practitioners on the various aspects of sustainable crop protection at a global perspective.
Dinah Faith Nabudadiri, Uganda