Sun. Oct 1st, 2023

Promoting sustainable agriculture in Africa will really affects Food Production?
An analysis by Amira Kaba

The German government’s plan to ban the export of harmful pesticides that are no longer approved in the European Union could have far-reaching implications for Africa, where the use of pesticides is still relatively low but growing. African farmers, particularly small-scale farmers, often lack the necessary knowledge and equipment to handle these poisonous chemicals safely, which can lead to significant health and environmental risks.

However, the proposed ban on these harmful chemicals is facing opposition from manufacturers and distributors who view Africa as a growing sales market. Large German chemical companies, like Bayer and BASF, are the world’s leading producers of crop protection products and they see Africa as a key market for their products.

Despite the resistance from these companies, the ban would be a positive development for environmental agencies in Africa. The active ingredients in these pesticides, such as profenofos and cypermethrin, have been banned in the EU since 2020 due to the potential risks of cancer, but they are still allowed to be exported. The ban would prevent the export of these harmful chemicals to Africa and reduce the risks associated with their use.

The timing of the proposed ban is also crucial in the context of the current global food crisis, where there is a growing belief that food production can only be increased with more pesticides. In East Africa, where extreme drought has led to hunger for more than 21 million people, countries like Uganda play a crucial role as a food supplier for the region. Thus, increasing food production in a sustainable manner is essential for the survival of the entire region.

On one hand, the ban could lead to declining food production in Africa, as farmers who previously relied on these chemicals for crop protection will have to find alternative methods. This could result in reduced yields and lower food security in the short term.

On the other hand, the long-term effects of continued use of these harmful chemicals are unknown and potentially hazardous. Their impact on the environment and human health could lead to declining food production in the long term, as well as a negative impact on the economy and public health. The use of these chemicals in Africa is also associated with a lack of knowledge and protection measures, which further increases the risks to health and the environment.

Therefore, while there may be some short-term risks of declining food production, the ban on the export of harmful pesticides is crucial in promoting sustainable agriculture and ensuring food security in the long term. The promotion of alternative, safe, and sustainable methods of crop protection is necessary to mitigate the risks associated with declining food production.

In conclusion, the proposed ban on the export of harmful pesticides from Germany could have a significant impact on Africa, reducing the risks associated with the use of these chemicals and promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. The exact active ingredients to be included in the ban are still being clarified, but if implemented, the ban would be a step towards promoting environmentally and socially responsible agriculture in Africa.

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