The Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) has announced that it has registered 109 biopesticides for farmers to use as alternatives for other products that are harmful to humans and the environment.

The announcement was made during a three-part public webinar series on pesticides use and registration in Kenya, organized by the Route to Food Initiative (RTFI).

“We have 109 biopesticides registered for use in Kenya. Biopesticides are considered less harmful compared to convection chemical pesticides. Registration for biopesticides is incentivized through shorter and less costly registration processes,” said Dr. Paul Ngaruiya, Head of Research Strategy and Planning at PCPB.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM emphasizes the careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations.

Also speaking during the webinar, Dr. Silke Bollmohr, an ecotoxicologist and founder of EcoTrac Consulting, highlighted various gaps that exist in the registration process of pesticides in Kenya. “The decision process should ensure a high level of protection to human, animal health and environment, acknowledge current scientific and technical knowledge as well as the precautionary principle,” said Dr. Bollmohr.

Jan Urhahn, from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in South Africa, presented findings from a study that interrogated double standards in the global pesticides trade. The study revealed that pesticide products and active ingredients that are banned in the EU due to health or environmental concerns are exported out of the EU by agrochemical companies. The products are then sold in other regions of the world including Kenya.

The PCPB has further banned 40 pest control products mainly due to international agreements, with Dicofol banned early this year. However, other concerning active ingredients, such as Chlorpyrifos and Chlorothalonil, which are withdrawn in the EU, are still in use in Kenya.

The decision by PCPB comes after the National Assembly Health Committee in December 2020, directed that it undertakes an analysis of harmful pesticides in the country. The Committee further directed that PCPB withdraw them from the market within 90 days.