International Food Safety Standards and the Use of Pesticides in Fresh Export Vegetable Production in Developing Countries: Implications for Farmer Health and the Environment
Okello, Julius, J.
Sw, Scott, M.
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Most developing country farmers producing for international markets rely on pesticides for agricultural production (Thrupp et al, 1995, Maumbe and Swinton, 2003). The warmth and humidity of tropical climates exacerbates the pest and disease problems (Okello, 2005). Due to standards for cosmetic quality in export markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, the use of pesticides has been especially pronounced in production of these products in the tropics. Production and export of fresh produce from developing countires have witnessed major growth in many developing countries seeking to diversify their production from staples to high value commodities. Growth has especially been greatest in the fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) and in the flower subsectors. In Africa, for instance, exports of FFV experienced a spurt in growth in the 1980s and 1990s as markets for major traditional exports (e.g., coffee, tea and cocoa) experienced a downturn. Most of these non-traditional exports were destined to Europe (with UK, Holland, Germany, and Italy being the leading importers) (Okello et al, 2008). Figure 1 presents the trends in exports of green beans, a major non-traditional export, by three of the leading exporters of fresh vegetables from Africa. It shows an increase in exports of green beans between 2000 and 2006 in all these countries.