Pesticides News The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides
No.102 December 2015
"On this farm we respect the environment and care for our flora and fauna" - agroecological methods can be used for effective and profitable management of pests and healthy crops. Photo: PAN UK
In this edition • • • • •
Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology Policies for pollinators – the need for government leadership in backing England’s bees UK farmers’ crowd-funding initiative – for affordable biopesticides New video on Highly Hazardous Pesticides: coffee farmers’ perspectives on problems and alternatives Anthony Youdeowei Honoured
No.102 December 2015
Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology National and global policymakers involved in chemicals management are faced with the need to replace highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) with safer and sustainable alternatives, but may have little understanding of ecological principles or practices. To address this gap, PAN International has compiled a book explaining how agroecological methods can be used for effective and profitable management of pests and healthy crops. The lead author, Dr Meriel Watts of PAN Asia Pacific provides this introduction. Meriel Watts from PAN Aotearoa New Zealand, with PAN UK’s Stephanie Williamson and other contributors, the book provides the health, environmental and development policy rationales for taking action on HHPs before describing case studies from around the world, including rice and other cereals, cotton, coffee, vegetables and fruit. Here we reproduce the Executive Summary: Pesticides, designed to kill living organisms and deliberately released into the environment, now contaminate all parts of the There is increasing policy attention at environment – soil, water, air, fog, international level on tackling the snow, ice, the bark of trees, the problems caused by current use of Arctic, grasses high in the Himalayas Highly Hazardous Pesticides. At its and wildlife everywhere. They also September 2015 policy conference, contaminate people everywhere, and SAICM, the global stakeholder forum ordinary everyday exposures through dealing with sound management of use, drift and residues in food and chemicals, including pesticides, water have resulted in a huge toll of recognized HHPs as a formal “issue acute effects, chronic health problems of concern” and supported calls for and deaths. Recent surveys show that concerted action. As PAN groups a very high proportion of farmers and have long advocated, actions to phase agricultural workers exposed to out HHPs need to promote pesticides through their work are agroecological alternatives instead of suffering poisoning – in Pakistan, 100 merely substituting other chemical percent of women picking cotton pesticides. In a welcome move, after pesticides were sprayed, in proposed HHP strategies developed Bangladesh 85 percent of applicators, by UN Environment Program, FAO in Burkina Faso 82 percent of farmers and WHO now emphasise ecological and in Brazil 45 percent of approaches. agricultural workers surveyed. Agricultural production also suffers PAN International used the from loss of pollinators and the SAICM conference to launch the beneficial insects that provide natural book Replacing Chemicals with control of pests. Biology: Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with On top of the sheer magnitude of agroecology which explains the the human suffering involved, there is principles and practices of a phenomenal cost to society. The agroecological farming. Authored by UNEP “Cost of Inaction” report www.pan-uk.org
estimated that the accumulated health costs of acute injury alone to smallholder pesticide users in subSaharan Africa will be approximately US $97 billion by 2020. This is not a problem confined to low-income countries: the annual external cost (i.e. to humans and the environment) of pesticide use in the United States is estimated to be US $ 9.6 billion annually. After decades of concern based on community experiences and mounting scientific evidence of the human health and environmental impacts of pesticides, the global community is posed now to take action to phase out highly hazardous pesticides. In 2006, the text of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) recognized the need for action to reduce dependency on pesticides, including to phase-out highly toxic pesticides by promoting alternatives; and responding to this the FAO Council recommended a global phase-out of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). We have reached a turning point for agriculture: it is a moment when tremendous changes can be made to address not only the damage inflicted by HHPs but also climate change, loss of biodiversity and lack of food security and sovereignty: all inextricably interwoven. As the FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in Paris in February 2015: "The model of agricultural production that predominates today is not suitable for the new food security challenges of the 2
No.102 December 2015
21st century. … Since food production is not a sufficient condition for food security, it means that the way we are producing is no longer acceptable”. It is counterproductive to try to prop up this current, failing model by replacing HHPs with other toxic pesticides that also inflict harm on humans and environment. There are much safer, more beneficial and viable ecosystembased approaches to pest management, such as agroecology. Agroecology, long considered the foundation of sustainable agriculture, is the science and practice of applying ecological concepts, principles and knowledge to the study, design and management of sustainable agroecosystems. It replaces chemicals with biology in farming.
Rice-duck system of insect and weed control and fertility enhancement, China
“Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides with Agroecology” provides powerful evidence from every region of the world of improved yields, greater profitability Agroecology makes sense for farmers, improved health, improved food security and There is widespread high-level sovereignty, greater resilience to support for replacing the currently adverse climate events, better dominant chemical-input approach to opportunities for women farmers, agriculture that emerged in the improved biodiversity, and social 1960s, with a biological approach. benefits such as better cooperation Since 2009, a number of UN between farmers and within agencies and reports have voiced communities. For example, farmers support of for moving forward with practicing Community Managed agroecology. These include the Sustainable Agriculture in India find IAASTD (International Assessment that their costs have been slashed by of Agricultural Knowledge, Science a third whilst yields have been and Technology for Development), maintained. the current and previous UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, There are seven core principles of United Nations Conference on Trade agroecology which aim to develop and Development, and the FAO and maintain an agroecosystem that international and regional symposia works with nature, not against it – on agroecology. Over 70 creating a balance that keeps pests in international scientists and scholars check. These principles involve: working in sustainable agriculture and food systems have called for a • adapting to local environments UN system-wide initiative on • providing the most favourable agroecology as the central strategy soil conditions for plant growth for addressing climate change and • promoting biodiversity building resilience in the face of • enhancing beneficial biological water crises across the globe. interactions • minimizing losses of energy and www.pan-uk.org
water minimizing the use of non renewable external resources maximizing the use of farmers’ knowledge and skills.
The core principles are reflected in a number of agroecological practices, such as integrating livestock into cropping farms, agroforestry, using leguminous cover crops to protect the soil and supply nitrogen, using compost and mulches, intercropping and optimising time of planting and weeding. Agroecological farmers sometimes use biological controls and attractant traps to reduce pest pressure and working cooperatively with other farmers. Pesticides, whether biological or chemical, are used only as a last resort. The exact practices that farmers use depends very much on their on-farm realities and social conditions: there is no prescribed ‘recipe’ approach as there is with chemicals. Case studies from Asia, Africa, Latin America and industrialized countries - on coffee, cotton, grains, legumes and vegetables - show the power of farmer-to-farmer transmission of knowledge and skills. Farmer Field Schools, a system of 3
No.102 December 2015 agrochemicals with financial credits for agroecology (such as soil carbon sequestration) would level the playing field.
Practicing rice-breeding techniques at the Masipag’s trial farm in the Philippines. PANAP
learning developed by the FAO which is based on farmer experimentation and learning in farmers’ own fields, have emerged as a powerful mechanism of learning about agroecology for farmers.
land and their access to water and seeds. They need to ensure equal rights for women in every sphere. An FAO report found that ensuring women farmers are adequately resourced could increase agricultural output in low-income countries between 2.5 and 4 percent and reduce the number of undernourished people by 100-150 million. Governments need to invest in agricultural knowledge by supporting research based on farmer needs and experiences, including farmer participatory research, as well as extension services and farmer networks.
Changes to pesticide regulatory systems are also needed. The presumption that a pesticide is registered if it meets certain hazard or risk criteria, regardless of whether it is needed, should be replaced by the presumption that pest, weeds and diseases should be managed by the least hazardous method - and chemicals registered only if need can be demonstrated. Existing registrations should cease when nonchemical methods or less hazardous pesticides can be substituted. International actions
International policy action is also needed. Steps must be taken to reverse the harmful impacts of unregulated trade and redirect misguided international development National policy changes policies and initiatives that hinder local, national and regional There is much that national transformation towards governments can and should do to agroecological food and farming assist the uptake of agroecology by systems. There is a need to reform, farmers. The first big step is to and in some cases dismantle, challenge assumptions that current institutions such as regional and levels of dependency on synthetic global trade arrangements and chemical pesticides are necessary, ownership laws that hinder the and that large-scale, specialized scaling up and out of agroecology. farms, highly reliant on agrochemical Re-structuring and re-alignment of and fossil fuel inputs, are the best National economic policies must these institutions is needed to support way to provide food for all. On the strengthen local food systems, restate and non-state actors’ obligations contrary, there is clear evidence that localise markets to reduce wastage to respect, protect, and fulfil small, diversified, agroecologically- during transport and storage and universal human rights to food, managed farms can be just as improve farmers’ ability to sell, and health and a safe working productive overall – or more so improve access to credit. Policies are environment, and to advance than input-intensive and needed to prevent global food chain equitable and sustainable monocultural systems. Countries domination of domestic markets. development goals. Intellectual need to change their policies to put Such domination allows these chains property regimes that privatized seed agroecology at the centre of their to determine prices that result in resources - transferring ownership to approach to agriculture. Some farmers being underpaid and left commercial interests and countries have already taken the first struggling to survive. Full-cost criminalizing farmers for saving steps – Brazil, Ecuador and France. accounting for agriculture would need to be reoriented to protect ensure the external costs of chemical- farmers. Corporate influence over National policies need to protect based production are taken into public policy and agri-food systems small farmers, their ownership of account. Replacing subsidies on needs to be curtailed. www.pan-uk.org
Pesticides News UN agencies, bi- and multi- lateral development institutions, international research institutes, private and public donor agencies need to prioritize participatory community-based farmer-led agroecological research, extension and education. There needs to be an FAO and a UN-wide adoption of agroecology as the central direction of agriculture. All UN agencies can contribute in important ways in assisting governments to bring their focus to agroecology. The World Bank and international financial institutions should redirect the focus of their agricultural and poverty-
No.102 December 2015 reduction programs to assist countries in transitioning towards equitable and sustainable agroecological systems. International and regional research institutional arrangements should prioritize agroecological research, extension and education. Multilateral and bilateral funding agencies as well as private foundations have an essential role to play in supporting the scaling up and scaling out of agroecology.
widespread adoption of agroecology. It is time to restrain corporate power and influence over public agencies and democratize the agri-food system at all levels and across all relevant institutions. Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology. Pesticide Action Network International, 2015, 210 pages.
International actors must firmly The book can be downloaded in pdf commit themselves to overcoming the format via the link at http://panpolitical, institutional and market international.org/resources constraints that stand in the way of
Policies for pollinators – the need for government leadership in backing England’s bees To mark the first anniversary of the UK National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) the UK Bee Coalition, a group of concerned organisations, released the Policies for Pollinators report identifying measures the UK Government should adopt to protect our under threat pollinator species. PAN UK’s Nick Mole, one of the report’s authors, summarises its recommendations.
Photo: Graham White
Whilst PAN UK and the bee coalition1 as a whole has always made it clear that multiple factors – including habitat loss, the expansion of intensive agriculture and pests and diseases – are at play causing declines and problems for UK pollinator species, there is little doubt that pesticides are also contributing. While the NPS does include some steps to address pesticide problems, we at PAN UK think that it falls short of what is needed. www.pan-uk.org
The new report from the Bee • Replace the inadequate 2012 UK Coalition includes a number of National Plan for Pesticides with a measures to tackle pesticide use that plan which robustly plans for would strengthen the NPS. PAN UK reductions in the use of pesticides; is calling on the Government to adopt these measures as a priority, not only • Prioritise research into how pesticides affect pollinators both because they will benefit pollinators, alone and in conjunction with but because they can be taken very other pesticides, diseases and quickly: It doesn’t take as long to parasites and how they persist in stop using a bee toxic pesticide as it the environment; does to restore pollinator habitats for example. A priority focus on • Work with the farming industry to pesticides could quickly take away ensure that independent advice is one key element of the pollinator provided to farmers on sustainable decline jigsaw puzzle and allow more pest management approaches effort on other long-term issues such (IPM). as restoring habitats and dealing with bee pests and diseases. On neonicotinoid pesticides: The new report addresses all areas that can help to reverse pollinator declines in the UK and offers key policy recommendations for the UK Government to act upon. The following are a selection of the key recommendations provided by the report. To read the full report please visit - www.pan-uk.org On pesticides in general:
• Ensure and implement a ban on all uses of the three currently restricted neonicotinoids which pose a threat to pollinators and extend the ban of these neonicotinoids to use on all other crops not currently covered under the EU ban; • Place a high priority on developing 5
Pesticides News and promoting safe alternatives to neonicotinoids, both chemical and non-chemical, especially when used on flowering crops; • Introduce specific measures to monitor compliance with and the effectiveness of the neonicotinoid restrictions. Comply fully with the existing restrictions on neonicotinoids, including not allowing derogations for use in any part of the UK; • Fund urgent research to address other emerging concerns around all neonicotinoids, including persistence in soil, impacts on aquatic wildlife and effects on birds.
No.102 December 2015 •
Ensure that all areas of policy support environmentally friendly farming practises;
Develop a policy framework to increase the area and impact of the organic sector and increase support for High Nature Value farming;
On conservation of natural habitat and species: •
On national and international commitments: •
Work with stakeholders to develop and implement an ambitious and effective 25 year plan to restore nature, involving all parts of Government in its delivery; Add more pollinator species, including bees, to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
(Research) priority should be given to under-studied pollinator groups, a valuation of pollinator ecosystem services, agricultural • management for encouraging pollinators and the quantifying of benefits of pollinators in urban areas; Introduce and support a long term National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme to establish a measure of pollinator abundance; Ban the import of bumblebee colonies from abroad.
On farm habitats for pollinators: www.pan-uk.org
Introduce legal measures to protect habitats that support pollinators, such as brownfield sites and the remaining wildflower meadows and woodlands; Encourage and direct funding towards projects – both community based and commercial – which create pollinator habitat in cities and towns.
On understanding pollinators: •
Develop approaches to delivering better connected habitats for wildlife, especially in areas highly valued for their biodiversity conservation.
Introduce measures to enhance protection of wildlife within development and planning policy, and complement existing environmental protections; Work with all Government departments in Defra and beyond to deliver pollinatorfriendly measures in infrastructure, especially within the Communities and Local government, Transport and Defence departments.
On the National Pollinator Strategy: •
Set up, fund and promote a new National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme to establish a measure of pollinator abundance; to also involve more people in recording and to support
professional and amateur expertise; •
Build on the existing research to close knowledge gaps in pollinator ecology, declines and beneficial management;
Given the pace of new evidence into the risks to pollinators and other wildlife from systemic pesticides, refresh the NPS with a clear commitment to cut pesticide use and find safer alternatives.
As can be seen from the above the report looks into all aspects that are relevant to safeguarding our pollinator species. There is a very clear need for greater action by the UK Government on pollinators. While the Government acknowledges that UK pollinators are facing a serious problem and it has implemented and carried on with the NPS, there also seems to be a distinct lack of direction, policy co-ordination and political will to address the key issues facing pollinators. In particular the UK Government stance on pesticides and their role in pollinator declines is woefully inadequate. One of the recommendations is for the UK Government not to allow use derogations for any of the three EU banned neonicotinoids. This was ignored in the summer of 2015 when the Defra Minister, Liz Truss, allowed for a use derogation to be applied to 5% of the UK oilseed rape crop. This type of activity not only undermines the objectives of the EU ban but is clearly at odds with the stated aims of the NPS. It certainly raises the question of Government credibility when they talk about how concerned they are about bees and pollinators. The report clearly outlines why we think that the recommendations provided are crucial to be adopted if the Government is serious about saving our pollinators from terminal 6
Pesticides News decline. We hope that Ministers sit up and take notice and in particular we hope that more sectors of the UK Government will become involved in pollinator issues. Without political will and some joined up government thinking on these key issues government words of concern for
No.102 December 2015 pollinators ring hollow and it will be left to others to try to stem the tide of decline.
Beekeeping Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and the Environmental Justice Foundation.
1. The UK Bee Coalition is made up of: Pesticide Action Network UK, Friends of the Earth, BugLife, Client Earth, Soil Association, Natural
UK farmers’ crowd-funding initiative – for affordable biopesticides Kenyan-produced biopesticides have reduced applications of chemical pesticides by up to 50%. The reductions have even been achieved in the pest-prone flower sector – a remarkable achievement because ornamentals cannot tolerate any cosmetic damage from ineffective crop protection and are grown with all year round conditions for pests and disease. Louise Labuschagne explains how UK growers have begun a crowd-funding campaign to get affordable biopesticides registered outside Africa so that EU farmers can benefit from the technology too. happened to be biological. African farmers are finding it easier to cut chemical pesticide residues simply because the available biopesticides are affordable and easy to use. Bringing the technology to the EU Following their visits, the UK farmers began to explore how to transfer these benefits to the EU. They quickly realized that this would not be easy.
Two years ago, the UK government funded four groups of about 12 UK farmers each, to visit Kenya and South Africa to look for innovations that they could adopt to leverage their UK businesses. They found it: Affordable biopesticides.
farmers who grow very high value crops and who need a zero residue, or a zero pre-harvest interval product they can apply close to picking. African farmers, in contrast, only pay EUR 15 to 40 per spray hectare for biopesticides.
The enabling environment in Kenya makes it cost effective to develop affordable biopesticides. Widespread registration and use of biopesticides has been possible in Africa because the cost of registration is substantially lower than the costs of The UK farmers saw first hand What is more, the UK farmers saw getting biopesticides to market in the how large-scale African farming how African growers were achieving EU, North America and the businesses, have been able to substantial synergistic effects on crop Antipodes. implement – and benefit from – bioprotection by alternating chemical intensive IPM. The African farmers and biopesticides in a spray For example, the eco-toxicology they met, use prophylactic programme. Not only were growers studies (against earthworms, birds, biopesticides as a backbone for crop able to almost halve their chemical fish etc.) needed to get a biopesticide protection programmes. applications, but they now had a very onto Annex 1 in the EU can cost real resistance management more than £500,000 per microbial This was an eye opener for the UK programme – something the EU biocontrol agent, whereas the same farmers. While a limited range of farmers continue to struggle with. tests in Africa cost about £20,000. biopesticides are available in the EU and other developed countries, high These positive results have helped Faced with these challenges, the costs limit their uptake. EU farmers biopesticides to become mainstream farmers came up with the idea of can pay up to EUR 300 per spray in Africa; not just something organic “crowd-funding” to finance the roll hectare for biopesticides and these farmers use because they have no out of the technology in the EU. high costs mean that biopesticides other options. Real farmers were They created an investor platform only make economic sense for using real solutions – they just www.realipm.co.uk - which was www.pan-uk.org
Pesticides News opened on 28th October. The platform about the need to reduce reliance on is only live for two months and closes chemical they will have something on 31st December this year. tangible – affordable biopesticides with the power to replace chemicals The Real IPM grower-led and sound the end of over-reliance on investment will fund the testing of the intensive chemical pesticide use. above biopesticides in EU labs against non-target organisms and then Real IPM (Kenya) Ltd submit the ecotox dossiers so that they can begin the registration Real IPM (Kenya) mass produces process in the EU. This will take up beneficial fungi and bacteria and has to 5 years to achieve but without registered them in several African patience, forethought and investment, countries as bio-fertilisers and bioaffordable biopesticides are unlikely pesticides. Real IPM (Kenya) Ltd is to be sold in the EU because owned by husband and wife team, currently, the owners of registered Louise Labuschagne and Dr. Henry biopesticides are large agrochemical Wainwright, who moved to Kenya companies, for whom reduction in from the UK in 2000. They now chemical pesticides is a conflict of employ 250 people and their interest. biopesticides are registered in South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, If by 31st December, sufficient Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana. funds are raised to compile the ecotox dossiers needed for registration of Real IPM Kenya was awarded the these biopesticides in the EU, grower- UK Norah Stucken Award for investors will be able to influence the services to Kenyan horticulture retail price of Real IPM UK because of their development of biopesticides. Instead of just talking biological controls. The achievements
No.102 December 2015 are now set also to benefit UK farmers if the crowd-funding initiative reaches its target. In partnership with their African customers, Real IPM Kenya has developed bio-intensive IPM programmes for a wide range of crops and target pests and diseases. Many of these targets are also common problems in the EU – whitefly, thrips, leafminer, fruit fly, nematodes, rust, powdery mildew, downy mildew. The list seemed endless. It is likely that the above biological controls will be equally effective in the EU, because of their widespread use in South Africa, where climates and crops are similar. Apples, pears, soft fruit, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers – are all familiar crops in the EU and are crops where Real IPM products are used in South Africa and Kenya. To find how you can make this happen – visit www.realipm.co.uk
The Real IPM toolbox includes: Biocontrol agent Metarhizium anisopliae 69 : Metarhizium anisopliae 78 : Metarhizium anisopliae 62 : Trichoderma asperellum: Bacillus subtilis: Phytoseiulus persimilis: Amblyseius cucumeris: Amblyseius californicus: Amblyseius andersoni: Amblyseius swirski: Hypoaspis species:
Pests or diseases targeted fungal pathogen for whitefly, thrips, mealybug, fruit fly, weevils. fungal pathogen for spider mite. fungal pathogen for aphids fungal pathogen for soil diseases, nematodes, Botrytis and downy mildew. Also has bio-‐fertiliser function bacterial pathogen for rust, powdery mildew, Botrytis, Alternaria and as a bio-‐ fertiliser predatory mite for spider mite predatory mite for early instar thrips predatory mite for spider mite predatory mite for spider mite, thrips, whitefly predatory mite for thrips and whitefly soil predatory mite for thrips, sciarid fly, root mealybug
No.102 December 2015
News in brief New video on Highly Hazardous Pesticides: coffee farmers’ perspectives on problems and alternatives
In this YouTube video from PAN UK, funded by the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), coffee farmers from Colombia and Nicaragua talk about the different problems they experienced when using endosulfan and other Highly Hazardous Pesticides. These include
worker poisonings, harm to wildlife and getting stuck with expired stocks. They explain how they’ve succeeded in managing coffee pests without HHPs using ecological methods and urge other farmers to stop using these dangerous products. More detailed videos on the different IPM methods used for managing Coffee Berry Borer are now available in English, Spanish, French and Brazilian Portuguese. All videos can be viewed via: http://www.pan-uk.org/ projects/growing-coffee-withoutendosulfan/#videos
Sciences. The Award is in recognition of his “significant contributions to global plant protection and food security through his professional activities as a scientist, educator and IPM technology transfer specialist, at AfricaRice, FAO, World Bank, and universities in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.” Congratulations Anthony on this well deserved recognition of your work!
Anthony Youdeowei Honoured PAN UK Trustee, Prof. Anthony Youdeowei has been awarded the prestigious International Plant Protection Award of Distinction (IPPAD) by the International Association for Plant Protection
No.102 December 2015
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