Pesticide industry vows to clear up mess in developing countries

The global pesticide industry’s trade body has re-affirmed its commitment to help developing countries dispose of 500,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides originally supplied by its member companies.

The pledge was made by the chairman of the Global Crop Protection Federation’s (GCPF) Obsolete Stocks Project Team, Dr. Chris Waller, who said that “GCPF companies will contribute financially once they have been able to identify which of their products are truly obsolete.” The announcement came days after a new report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) detailed the problem of pesticide waste globally totalling more than 500,000 tonnes (see related story).

The organisation stressed, however, that a “significant part” of the stocks originate from companies which are non-GCPF members, though the world’s main pesticide manufacturers, which include Aventis CropScience, BASF, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto, Sumitomo and Syngenta, are GCPF members. It says that identification of the origin of the products is important as large sums of money are involved and that verification processes have worked well in many countries where GCPF member companies have co-operated with donors in a multi-stakeholder approach to disposal projects. GCPF companies are also offering their technical expertise and support, which includes safety data and chemical analysis required to ensure that disposal takes place in a safe and effective fashion.

In the case of Ethiopia, which has one of the world’s largest stocks of obsolete pesticides (see related story), GCPF is now expecting clear proposals from FAO on a verification process for their member companies’ products. “If some of the products are still usable, it’s far better to use them to protect crops against pests and diseases in famine prone countries like Ethiopia than to ship them to Finland for high temperature incineration,” said Dr. Waller.

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