Environmental governance of pesticides in Ethiopian vegetable and cut flower production
- Publication Date
- Jan 01, 2016
- Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
- External links
Pesticides are intensively used in agriculture across the globe to prevent or control pests, diseases, and weeds. In this process, improper pesticide registration, distribution and use has become more serious, which has resulted in heavy environmental and human health risks in many parts of the world. This holds especially true for developing countries, including Ethiopia where good agricultural practices are often poorly implemented. To safeguard human health and the environment, a strict regulatory policy is essential. In line with this, Ethiopia has developed pesticide registration and control procedures, which are regulations and directives in which the country also included different international agreements related to agropesticides. Therefore, the overall policy with respect to pesticide plays a key role in improving the environment, the health of growers and the surrounding community and stimulates the economic performance of the Ethiopian agricultural sector. However, there was no clear answer to the question whether the policy on pesticide registration, distribution and use was implemented in an effective and sustainable way. Arguably, governance failures are the origin of many environmental and human health problems regarding pesticides in developing countries. This paper argues that the influence of state and non-state actors and the relative importance of their interactions are the major structural characteristics of pesticide governance. However, it is still important to ask what governing mechanisms and actors are available and what can be developed further to promote sustainable pesticide governance. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to investigate the pesticide policy-and-practice nexus, which includes the roles of governmental actors, private actors(traders) and farmers, and to review the actual and potential contribution from various governance actors in changing the existing (unsafe) pesticide practices in vegetables and cut flowers sector in which pesticides are used intensively.I have to conclude that both state and private actors hardly contribute to significant improvements in achieving sound pesticide management in Ethiopia. The state regulatory system has revealed an inability in controlling proper registration, distribution and safe use. Pesticide registration systems are not well established. A major challenge in pesticide registration is the double/ triple registration of pesticides with the same active ingredient (ai) but under different commercial names. Importing unregistered pesticides (only with import permits) by most flower growers allowed them to use extremely harmful/chemicals toxic to the environment and workers for higher risks. The government’s political commitment in this regard has never been observed in the floriculture industries, where there is no supervision or monitoring at all. In addition, commercial pesticide traders prove unable/unwilling to comply with regulations prescribed by the government proclamation. Among other problems, importation of pesticides with the wrong labels, conflicts of interest between importers (registrants) and double/triple registration of pesticides with the same (ai) under different commercial names cause confusion for retailers and farmers. Moreover, importation without obtaining a prior import permit and requests to import unregistered pesticides have grown over time. At the same time, the responsibility for controlling the pesticide market (inspection) failed in terms of quality control in distribution and use. The retailing of pesticides has been handled by unqualified and unlicensed retailers in shops and open markets with other commodities. Finally, this challenge is particularly critical at farm (local) level. There is substantial overuse, misuse and abuse of pesticides by end users, especially by smallholder farmers, due to lack of knowledge, technical support and training on hazards and risks associated with pesticides. Challenges to pesticide governance throughout the pesticide supply chain has resulted in negative policy outcomes for the environment and human health, particularly with the failure of state authorities to actively engage non-state actors in the complex pesticide registration, distribution and use system. Following the findings in this thesis, these situations call for the reshaping of the pesticide governance system throughout the country. To effectively address the human health and environmental impacts of pesticides requires a pesticide governance system that facilitates agricultural and environmental sustainability.