Agribusiness
Banned farm chemicals still on market
Publish Date: Aug 22, 2014
Banned farm chemicals still on market
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Vision reporters

“I need Furadan 5G,” I requested a dealer at Container Village. He hesitated, a bit before asking, “What are you going to use it for? “I have used other farm chemicals, but they have failed to kill the pests,” I said. “I can arrange to have it in minutes,” the dealer replied.

Furadan 5G is a farm chemical that was recalled by its manufacturers, FMC company, in 2009. However, farmers can still easily get it in Kampala shops.

Furadan 5G is a chemical under the carbofuran class. FMC recalled all their carbofuran related chemicals in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Carbofuran is a contact and stomach poison that kills all kinds of pests that affect a wide array of crops and this made it popular with farmers.

However, researchers Edward Okot and Andrew Plumptre recently highlighted global concerns about the chemical’s effect on animals in areas where it is used.

In Uganda, according to Okot, the chemical was used either intentionally or by mistake, by farmers near wildlife reserves like Queen Elizabeth National Park to kill wild animals that strayed into the farms or even in the game parks.

According to Okot’s research, carbofuran chemicals are common in agricultural input stores near game reserves, like in Kasese town.

The use of the pesticides to kill wild animals is a huge concern since wildlife is an important aspect of the tourism industry, which is one of the leading foreign income earners for the country.

In Uganda, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), the only licensed carbofuran chemicals are Furan 5G and Agro-furan 5G.

Agro-furan is solely supplied by a company called General and Allied Ltd.

It is produced in Singapore, while Furan 5G is produced by United Phosphorous Limited, Mumbai India and distributed by Lipsum (U) Ltd in Uganda. When they realised that Furadan 5G was still on sale under their label in Uganda, FMC issued a statement saying the product on the Ugandan market was not genuine.
 


A woman buys inputs from a shop at Container Village
 

Dealers at Container Village said they import the chemical from Kenya. MAAIF officials blame the lack of sufficient personnel at the borders for the ease with which the chemical is imported into Uganda.

A survey by Okot and Plumptre across 35 agro-input shops in Kampala showed that 13 of the shops had carbofuran on the shelves.

Agriculture officers say Ridomil is another chemical that was banned, but remains on shop shelves. Researchers have warned that continuous spraying of Ridomil pesticides on tomatoes may lead to health complications, such as cancer, Ridomil is one of the fertilisers that stay in the fruit for long periods of time.

According to Dr. Wilberforce Tushemereire, Director of National Agricultural Research Laboratories – NARL Kawanda, Ridomil is mainly used on tomatoes to keep them fresh longer and disease-free, while on mangoes, it is used to kill flies that may be attracted by the mango while it is still on the shelf.

Tushemereire added: “Much as there is no proven association between Ridomil and cancer, we suspect that in the long run consuming these poisons can cause problems in the internal organs.

Most chemical dealers, he pointed out, are interested in making quick sales, while the farmers, who do the actual spraying, do not know the effects of the chemicals they use.

To compound matters, the dealers too may not know what they are selling or what precautions their clients should take.

However, Dr. John Mwanja, who is in charge of pesticide control in MAAIF, says he is not sure if Ridomil was banned.

“I need to crosscheck with the recommendations from the Stockholm convention, which conducts research on all agrochemicals before they are sent in the market,” he said.

Other banned agrochemicals in Uganda include the DDT used to control pests (the one to control mosquitoes is legal), Endosulphhide, which is mainly used by cotton farmers and Ambush that was popularly used to control weeds.


Also related to this story

Fake inputs: Are the laws too weak?

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
The young man creating opportunities for others
To say 27-year-old Joe Male’s exploits as an agricultural entrepreneur are impressive may sound like an understatement....
Report cautions parliament on GMO bill
A report has cautioned government and parliament against rushing to pass the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill....
How to spot fake herbicides
Even when a farmer has used improved varieties and seed, there is no guarantee that he/she will get a good crop....
More farmers sign to have taxes on agric. inputs scrapped
Over 1,500 farmers from Mityana appended their signatures in one million-signature campaign to have taxes on agricultural inputs dropped....
Museveni: Commercial agriculture will transform Busoga
President Yoweri Museveni has asked the people in Busoga region to practice commercial agriculture so as to realize financial stability in the area....
Agribusiness incubation could curb unemployment, says expert
Uganda must emphasise and embrace modern agribusiness incubation technology systems to maximise benefits from the agricultural sector in terms of employment opportunities and food security....
Do Ugandan tycoons prepare their children to take over their business empires?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter