By Naomi Kitur

Fast tracking of the implementation of the East Africa Community (EAC) Harmonized Pesticide Guidelines needs investment.

Emmanuel Ngomiraronka, Consultant for CropLife Africa Middle East (CLAME) said at the Regional Validation Workshop on Domestication and Implementation of Harmonized Pesticides Guidelines held in Nairobi.

He noted that the investment is needed in infrastructure, human, financial and governance resources.

Emmanuel Ngomiraronka

The guidelines to be domesticated and implemented include Guidelines on Data Requirements for the Registration of Conventional Chemical Pesticides Used in Agriculture and Forestry in EAC Partner States, Guidelines for Evaluating and Reporting the Efficacy of Pest Control Products for Plants, Guidelines for the conduct of supervised pesticide residue field trials on crops, Technical Criteria for Designating Efficacy Trial Centers, Guidelines for the Protection of Confidential Business Information Submitted for Pesticide Registration Actions in the EAC Partner States and EAC Harmonized Guidelines for The Registration of Bio pesticides and Bio Control Agents for Plant Protection.

The domestication and harmonization project was designed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the EAC Secretariat with the overall goal to facilitate increased farmer access to effective conventional pesticides and bio pesticides in EAC Partner States through supporting a harmonized pesticide registration system.

However, the project has been slow tracked by a number of issues so much so that none of the partner states had managed to fully domesticate the guidelines by May 2020.

Ngomiraronka stated that in Rwanda, there were no formal post registration surveillance scheme and inadequate capacity to conduct risk assessment of pesticides residue trials.

Burundi on the other hand, experiences challenges to do with office space, inadequate computers and personnel as well as having no laboratories, he noted.

Uganda, Joshua Owago from CLAME said, has no operational laboratory and the experience insufficient information technology resources.

Insufficient funding is also an issue because all fees collected are paid directly to the government consolidated fund. However they have been able to implement 40% of the guidelines, he noted.

‘’One common challenge that cuts across all partner states is that there is no policy to guide the sound management of pesticides our countries,’’ said Joel Mutai from CLAME.

Delegates at the meeting

He added that Kenya’s status of domestication of the guidelines was placed at 56% and that currently Kenya has a challenge in laboratory equipment and space but a new lab is under construction.

Paul Ngaruiya from the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) added that they need supplementary budget allocation to bridge gaps in funding.

The EAC partner states gave several recommendations respectively; Kenya recommended that the completion of the new laboratory be fast tracked and the lab equipped to facilitate pesticide formulation and residue analysis. Increased funding to facilitate PCPB operations was also recommended as well as tax reductions to reduce the cost of the products.

Rwanda stated that laws and regulations need to be revised to align to the EAC guidelines and that existing laboratories need improvement. It was recommended that Uganda establishes a national pesticide laboratory, invest in IT resources and infrastructure and implement customer service charter.

General recommendations that cut across all partner states was that there is need to develop a pesticide management policy as well as enhance public awareness and sensitization on the EAC harmonized guidelines.

The objectives of the project was to assess the needs of respective EAC Partner States in implementation, build the capacity of the technical working group (TWG) to efficiently and effectively engage members in developing and expediting new pesticide regulations as well as build capacities of regulatory agencies and organizations of the EAC Partner States to efficiently and effectively review and approve new pesticide product registration applications and facilitate private sector buy-in to the newly introduced EAC harmonized pesticide registration process.