An alliance of agricultural growers’ organisations has today announced its support for proposed government legislation updating the Kenyan regime for the approval and use of pesticides.
The Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK), Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), Cereal Growers Association, and Veterinary Inputs Suppliers Association of Kenya today announced their support for the updating of the pesticide control regime, which they termed the most rigorous in Africa.
“The new legislation, spanning a new Pesticides Bill and seven new regulations, will further strengthen Kenya’s rigorous pesticide control, which already prevents any pesticide from being sold in Kenya that has been banned as a health hazard or pollutant under the international Rotterdam or Stockholm Conventions, to which Kenya is a signatory,” said Mr Eric Kimunguyi, CEO of AAK.
The new legislation will create an independent Pesticide Control Products Authority; upgrade the qualifications needed to run businesses and premises handling pesticides; make pesticide stock records compulsory; and move the labelling on pesticides sold in Kenya to the global system of hazard warnings, called the Global Harmonised System of Hazard Warnings.
The bill also recognises county governments and spells out counties’ responsibilities in training farmers in the responsible use (RU) of pesticides.
Where a pesticide is already registered and new scientific evidence emerges that prompts a ban by any one country or regulator, the existing PCP Act automatically triggers a local review and re-registration procedure in Kenya. The outcome from that review is then based on the strength of the scientific evidence.
“However, if scientific evidence is strong enough to prompt a ban under the global conventions governing dangerous chemicals, Kenya will automatically ban the product and issue a phase-out plan,” said Mr Kimunguyi.
AAK, which represents the pesticide industry, is due to engage with regulators on the updating of the PCP legislation together with agricultural growers including the FPC.
“Pesticides are critical to our food production, with Fall Army Worm last year destroying 70 per cent of our maize production in the absence of a pesticide regime, and international research showing that pesticides increase food production by an average 40 per cent,” said Mr Okisegere Ojepat, CEO of FPC. “But while such aides are essential to food production, we must also ensure human health and environmental integrity at all times.”
The new regulations are currently being assessed for their impact ahead of public participation in their final amendments. “The urgent matter is to now complete the legislative process and move swiftly to a fully updated expert regulatory regime that will continue to ban pesticides in Kenya that have been internationally banned on health grounds,” said Mr Kimunguyi.
The Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) is the umbrella organisation in Kenya for manufacturers, formulators, repackers, importers, consultants, distributors, farmers and users of pest control products (pesticides) in Kenya.
AAK which was established in 1958, is also known as Croplife Kenya by virtue of being national representative of the International Agrochem Industry represented worldwide by CropLife International.
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Summary of Kenya’s pesticide regulation
The 1982 Pest Control Product (PCP) Act created:
1. A Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) whose functions include:
- Assessing pest control products in line with the Act and regulations;
- Recommending the registration of pest control products and advising the Minister of Agriculture on the enforcement of the Act and regulations.
2. A set of six regulations:
- Pest control products (licensing of premises) regulations
- Pest control products (registration) regulations
- Pest control products (labelling, advertising and packaging) regulations
- Pest control products (importation and exportation) regulations
- Pest control products (disposal) regulations
- Pest control products (licence fees and other charges) regulations
The proposed Pest Control Product (PCP) Bill aims to create:
1. An independent Pest Control Products Authority to regulate the sector
2. A PCPA board of director to formulate policies and oversee regulation
3. A tribunal to hear appeals on registration and pest control product regulation.
4. A set of seven regulations:
- Pest control products (registration) regulations, 2018
- Pest control products (licensing of premises and business) regulations, 2018
- Pest control products (labelling, advertising and packaging) regulations, 2018
- Pest control products (importation and exportation) regulations, 2018
- Pest control products (licence fees and other charges) regulations, 2018
- Pest control products (disposal) regulations, 2018
- Confidential business information regulations, 2018
These add extra requirements for proof of compliance with laws elsewhere, and in local efficacy data. They also raise the bar on the scientific qualifications needed to run a pest control product business or store and make stock records mandatory.
In addition, the new regulations move Kenya to the global system of hazard labelling on chemicals, and add clauses suspending import permits where a pest control product is shown to be harming human health. The new confidential business information (CBI) regulation requires that the regulator respects the confidentiality of business-sensitive information, and pesticide container disposal is enhanced by introducing Empty Pesticide Collection Centres.
Key principles of Kenya’s pesticide regime
Kenya has created the strongest possible protection of human health and the environment from pest control products by taking approval by a leading global pesticides regulator, such as the US or Europe, as a prerequisite for registration in Kenya: no pesticide may be used in Kenya if it has not been approved by one of the world’s advanced pesticide regulators.
This baseline is then augmented by comprehensive regulations governing pesticide labelling and instructions, storage, disposal and all other aspects of pesticide registration and management, as defined by the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management. Kenya also carries out ongoing testing for pesticide residue levels to ensure they are maintained at healthy levels, as defined by the World Health Organisation.
In ensuring safety, the Kenyan regulations on pesticide registration rule that:
- Registration in Kenya is anchored in law (PCPB Act) which has six regulations governing the industry.
- Kenya does not manufacture any pesticides, but repackages pesticides that are imported, principally from China, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
- No pesticide can be registered in Kenya unless it has been registered in its country of origin for the same use.
- No pesticide can be registered in Kenya without proof that it has already been approved for use in a developed country with a reputable risk assessment regimes, such as the EU or US, Canada, or Australia.
- Kenya can never be the first country to register a pest control product that has not been proven safe in other countries.
6 Kenya requires, further, that all pesticide testing is conducted according to international guidelines, with certification to prove they used a Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) accredited laboratory. These labs are not found in Kenya.
Kenya is also a signatory to key international conventions, which are fully in effect, being:
(i) Stockholm Convention governing Persistent Organic Pollutants, which requires that countries regulate to eliminate or restrict the production and use of listed Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
(ii) Rotterdam Convention governing information sharing on international trade of hazardous chemicals. This protects signatories from unwanted hazardous imports entering their countries, imposing labelling requirements and requirements to inform regimes of such trade.
(iii) Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete Ozone Layer includes ozone depleting substances that are duly banned or restricted in Kenya.
(iv) Basel Convention controls the cross-boundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposals.
Under these conventions, Kenya’s Pest Control Product Board (PCPB) is a Designated National Authority (DNA) on pesticides and participates in meetings for banning or restricting products.
Banned or restricted pesticides under these conventions are automatically banned in Kenya. The PCPB has a list of banned pesticides on its website.