Banned in Europe but available in Kenya

The European Commission has banned three of the most widely applied insecticides due to the risk to bees and other pollinators. The April ban on thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin, expected to come into force this year, covers all outdoor uses in Europe. The chemical use will, however, be permitted in permanent greenhouses where exposure to bees is unlikely.

However, despite the African honey bee being more sensitive to these neonicotinoids than the European one, the pesticides are still heavily and widely used in Kenya. Imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, for example, are approved for use in controlling insect pests in coffee trees, French beans, maize, cotton, wheat, forestry nurseries, roses, tobacco and vegetables.

The Pest Control Products Board has registered 718 products, of which 28 per cent are not approved in Europe because of their potential human or environmental health effects. There are 41 products in the local market which contain these two active ingredients.

Given the risks and the fact that Kenya is food-insecure, a ban on neonicotinoids in the country would be an important step. That would allow for further detailed studies to determine the extent of the damage that the pesticides have on the environment, pollinators and human beings.


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