From 21 to 23 July , 2021, in Bujumbura, the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, organized a sensitization and capacity building workshop on the domestication and implementation of the East African Community harmonized guidelines on pesticides for private sector actors, regulators and decision-makers in the country on domestication and implementation of the East African Community harmonized pesticide guidelines.
The East African Community Council of Ministers which took place in November 2019 approved guidelines for testing and registration of pesticides. The directives of the Council inter alia called upon Partner States to prioritize coordinated capacity building and support to facilitate implementation of these harmonized guidelines. The overall goal of the project is to facilitate increased farmer access to effective conventional pesticides and bio pesticides in East African Community Partner States through supporting the domestication and implementation of the harmonized pesticide registration system.
Experts from the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock and institutions working in the agricultural sector, Member of Parliament as well as journalists from various radio stations attended this workshop whose objective was to sensitize and build the capacity of representatives of policy makers and private sector actors on the domestication and effective implementation of harmonized guidelines on pesticides.
The opening address of the meeting was given by Mr. Jean Claude NDUWAYO, the representative of the Ministry of the East African Community Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture. In his speech, he thanked the participants for having responded massively to this important meeting for Burundi. This shows the interest of authorities in the problems caused by the use of pesticides, he added. He informed the participants that the harmonized directives of the East African Community on pesticides will allow the East African Community Partner States to have a common vision on the management of pesticides and to avoid the use of extremely dangerous pesticides for human health and the environment.
He stated that a number of directives were approved and adopted by the Sector Council on Agriculture and Food Security and the Council of Ministers of the East African Community. Those are harmonized guidelines for evaluating and reporting the effectiveness of chemical control products; harmonized East African Community guidelines on the registration of bio-pesticides and bio-control agents for plant protection; guidelines on the conduct of field trials of pesticide residues on crops; guidelines on data requirements for the registration of conventional chemical pesticides used in agriculture and forestry in East African Community Partner States and the guidelines on the protection of conventional commercial information subject to pesticide registration actions in partner countries of the East African Community.
He concluded his speech by informing the participants that the Government of Burundi, being aware of the danger caused by pesticides, has just amended the law on the management of pesticides in order to align with the harmonized directives of the East African Community by including a regulatory and pesticides control authority.
Over the course of the three day workshop, participants discussed the assessment report – gaps and recommendations, including perspectives from the private sector, CropLife Kenya experiences and those of Burundi private sector actors. They also agreed to promote collaboration between the Burundi Ministry of Environment, agriculture and livestock and private sector actors towards creation of an industry association and resolving the current challenges faced to promote sustainable use of pesticides including inadequacy and or nonexistent mechanisms for managing pesticide containers, obsolete pesticides, sensitization and training of farmers.