Pesticide Use and Implications in Horticultural Export Crops in Kenya
Mabeya, J. M
Nderitu, J. H
Wambua, E. W
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Horticultural exports earned Kenya 14 billion and 20 billion shillings in the years 2000 and 2001 respectively, from an estimated volume of 99 million tonnes and 93 million tonnes respectively. This indicates an increase in value of the exports, and makes horticulture the second highest foreign income earner after tea. Pesticides are a major production cost in the large-scale enterprises. Every year large amounts of pesticides are used to manage pests in horticulture, so as to ensure high quality production especially for export market. Local markets have also evolved as to demand high quality blemish free horticultural products. This has made farmers to increase use of pesticides and other agrochemicals. The types, quantities and market value of pesticides imported and sold for various crops would indicate the trend of pesticides usage in Kenya. The horticultural exports from this country are subject to stringent European Union (EU) requirements on Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). The EU being the most important export destination, the issue of MRLs should urgently be addressed. Measures need to be put in place to ensure that Kenya does not lose its horticultural export niche. These may include, developing and devising crop protection strategies based on the farmers’ needs, strengthening various relevant institutions and developing sound pest management policies.