Nairobi: Kenya’s agrochemical industry is at a loss following a warning this week that farmers stop using Dimethioate, arguably the most effective broad-spectrum pesticide in the market. HortiNews has established that both the horticulture and agrochemical sectors are in a major dilemma because of an EU directive that reviewed the Maximum Residue Limits from 0.2 to 0.002 in 2010.
Scientists say even in the best application methods, it is impossible to attain a limit of 0.02, the reason why the EU supermarkets technically banned products sprayed with the product, which has a long – 21 days post-harvest interval – the period produce should take before harvesting after application.
The agrochemical industry in Kenya sells an estimated 500,000 liters annually of this product annually, 70 per cent of this to horticulture.
The ban means that the agrochemical fraternity will lose this business. On the other hand, smallholder farmers, who are the main buyers cannot afford the alternatives – at the moment there isn’t another broad-spectrum product, leaving the growers to apply a combination of products, a development that is costly to them, unless they can be paid more by the buyers.
The alternatives are effective only on one or two problems. For example; a product might kill only caterpillars and not thrips therefore to kill both, a farmer has to buy two products. This means two things; either they will still use the product secretly because it is still in the market and put the entire horticulture sector at risk of market boycott, or stop growing altogether. The implication is deadly, whichever way you look at it.
All the major agrochemical companies – Farmchem, Orion, Osho, Twiga, and Dera among others – have huge stakes here, and the ban can easily push them out of business. Dera, for instance, has Dimethioate as its lifeline, and the ban means the company will have to close.
The issue has divided agriculture stakeholders down the middle – with the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya crusading for a total ban, while the Pest Control Products Board says it would be against international protocols of which Kenya can face dire consequences since the product has not been phased out globally.
The big farms that can afford alternatives are not affected. It is the smallholders who make up 60 per cent of vegetable and fruits exports that are feeling the heat. This can reverse the gains made over the past 20 years, of getting smallholders in mainstream export, and leave the industry to the big boys.
Below is a list of Dimethioate products as compiled by HortiNews:
1) Twigathoate 40EC = Twiga Chemical Industries LTD
2) Danadim Blue 40 EC = Farmchem LTD
3) Danadim 40 EC = Farmchem LTD
4)Agrothoate 40 EC =Bell Industries LTD
5) Alphadime 415 EC = Orion EA LTD
6) Biomet 40 EC = Biomedica laboratories LTD
7) Degor 40 EC = Dera Chemical Industries LTD
8) Dimekil 40 EC = Juanco SPS LTD
9) Dimet 40 EC = Highchem Essentials Ltd
10) Dimeton 40 EC = Orion EA Ltd
11) Dimex 40 EC = Fedo Agencies LTD
12)Domino 40 EC = Laibuta Chemicals LTD
13) Farmdime 40 EC = Fair Farms Ltd
14) Hygro 40 EC = Orbit Chemical Industries LTD
15) Murmethoate 40 EC = Murphy Chemicals Ltd
16) Orgor 40 EC = Osho Chemical Industries LTD
17) Rogor L 40 EC = Twiga Chemical industries LTD
18) Tafgor 40 EC = Dera Chemical Industries LTD
19) Farmathoate 40 EC = Profarm Africa LTD
20) Emethoate 40 EC = Elgon Chemicals LTD
21) Chemthoate 40 EC = Chemline Africa LTD
22) Chemthoate 400 EC = Chemline Africa LTD
23) Dicote 40 EC = Magnetic kenya LTD
24) Dimect 40 EC = Highchem Essentials LTD
25) Ethoate 40 EC = Elgon Kenya LTD
26) Hangthoate 40 EC = Hangzhou Agrochemicals Industries LTD
27) Murthoate 40 EC = Murphy Chemicals LTD
By Catherine Riungu