Kenya: New Study Shows Toxic Pesticides in Sukuma, Tomatoes and Maize in Kenya

Nairobi — A recent study has shown that maize, sukuma wiki, and tomatoes grown in Kenya have been grown using Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs).

According to the World Health Organisation, HHPs are dangerous to human health, animals, and the environment. In many countries, HHPs are found in food, which puts the health of consumers at risk. They are especially dangerous to farmers and land workers exposed to them.

Speaking during a public webinar on the state of pesticide use in Kenya, Dr. Silke Bollmohr, a toxicologist and Lead Scientist at EcoTrac Consulting said Kenya’s staple food is not safe for consumption. This followed research done in conjunction with the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), that showed excessive use of HHPs by Kenyan farmers in Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Machakos, and Meru.

“A recent study that we did in collaboration with KOAN, showed that most farmers in Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Machakos, and Meru heavily used highly hazardous pesticides on Kenya’s most important crops: maize, sukuma wiki, tomatoes, and cabbages,” stated Dr. Silke Bollmohr.

“These HHPs are known to have been banned in the EU and most recently in the US, but are still available and sold in the Kenyan market,” she added.

According to Dr. Bollmohr, the pesticide Chlorpyrifos present in these vegetables is not registered for use in vegetables in the first place. Agrovet dealers however recommend this HHP pesticide for use to unsuspecting farmers. Chlorpyrifos is registered for use in 24 products. Her presentation also showed pesticide residues in tomatoes and sukuma wiki that far exceeded recommended Maximum Residues Levels (MRLs).