Project background

Most of African countries lack adequate pesticide management capacities and this situation has resulted in the generation of large stocks of obsolete pesticides, empty pesticide containers, contaminated equipment, materials and heavily contaminated soil at certain sites and water bodies with a daily impact on human health and on natural enemies of pest species.

Inadequate use of pesticides may have a large impact on quality of surface and ground water, Presence of residual pesticides in water reduces the usefulness for drinking water and will reduce the ecological quality of surface water systems.

Residue problems have been reported on some export crops at different occasions. The fast growing horticulture export sector of Ethiopia faces a lot of problems. Some pesticides with high human and mammalian toxicity and pesticides that have been restricted in developed countries are still circulating in the country due to poor regulation no compliance with Global Good Agricultural Practice. These conditions reflect a mismanagement of pesticides at different stages of the life cycle of pesticides in the country. One of the basic problems in the management of pesticides is the lack of a proper registration system in Ethiopia. Pesticide registration is still at the development stage and there is little expertise in the field of implementing internationally agreed pesticide registration procedures and guidelines and not enough capacity for conducting the required lab analysis which may lead to a situation of registering pesticides that are harmful for public health and the environment in general. Moreover the awareness on safe and judicious use of agricultural and public health pesticides is very limited. This has resulted, especially among smallholder horticulture farmers, in widespread misuse and abuse of pesticides, including unsafe storage.

In addition, over the last 10 years the Ethiopian government has been concerned about safe disposal of obsolete stocks. In collaboration with the government of Ethiopia, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) secured funds from international donors and insured disposal of 2273.43 tones during obsolete pesticide projects. Currently about 415 tones are also safeguarded awaiting finalization funding arrangement from Croplife International. However, the country is not still free from obsolete pesticides.

At the same time, Ethiopia is in the process of intensifying its agriculture to meet national demands for food and to increase agricultural exports like coffee, flowers and vegetables. This implies that for sustainable growth of the agriculture sector there is an immediate need for proper regulation and management of pesticides.

Pesticide management therefore receives much attention from the government in order to attain high quality agricultural produce for local consumption and export, protect public health and natural resources. In view of this, the Government of Ethiopia has initiated a national programme to improve pesticide management along the pesticide life cycle: from the registration and import of pesticides, to use and monitoring, and including quality control and waste management.