PESTICIDES IN AFRICA

Despite the common impression that African farmers are "too poor to pollute," pesticide use is expanding significantly in much of Africa. Much of this is unregulated, undocumented, and carried out by farmers with little knowledge of the potential harms of these products. At the same time, farmers are squeezed from all directions: facing increasing costs, difficulty procuring labor, and declining soil fertility. Pesticides emerge as solutions to immediate problems, while exacerbating longer-term agrarian crises...

 

In the Arusha Call for Action on Pesticides, participants at the Pesticide Politics in Africa Conference in 2019 called for greater responsibility on the part of governments, regulatory institutions, and pesticide manufacturers.

Based on the case of cotton in Burkina Faso, I've published a number of articles on this topic (available for download on my Publications tab).

"Toxic Sensorium," with Serena Stein, provides a useful overview of literature on pesticides in Africa - including the limits of this literature. We cannot keep thinking that "if only farmers knew," they would stop using pesticides or be able to use them safely, as industry and CropLife seem to promise.

Another article, "Pesticides are our children now," theorizes the intersecting role of cultural change and political economy in producing a technological treadmill. 

RESOURCES TO FOLLOW:

ON REGULATION​ AND PESTICIDE CLASSIFICATION