22 September 2017

Rwanda: Agric Ministry Moves to Enforce Regulation of Pesticide Business

Agrochemical trade will only be handled by professionals who are able to provide guidance on their proper handling under the new regulations.

The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gerardine Mukeshimana, announced this at a meeting with stakeholders in Kigali on Wednesday.

Agrochemical dealers (importers, distributors, retailers, and fumigators) are required to register under the new regulations, she said.

The Agrochemical Law and Regulations prohibits sub-standard, expired, adulterated or counterfeit agro chemicals on the market, as well as sale of agrochemicals in shops selling consumables.

Moreover, expired or damaged agrochemicals will be properly disposed of, while registration of new agrochemical products will be adequately handled.

Speaking at the meeting, Mukeshimana stressed that the new regulation would curb existing unprofessionalism in agrochemical business in the country.

To facilitate the implementation, an agrochemical advisory council, registrar and inspectors have been tasked to conduct systematic and routine inspections of dealers and their operation premises.

They will proceed to register dealers and premises in accordance with the regulations.

The law governing agrochemicals was enacted in August 2012. It governs the manufacture, importation, distribution, use, storage, sale and disposal and burial of agrochemicals, for the protection of human and animal health and the environment, to avoid injury and contamination which may result from their use.

In 2016 - 2017, Cabinet approved all the remaining Orders to enable full implementation of the provisions of the law.

Christine Murebwayire, the Chairperson of the Chamber of Rwanda Farmers at Private Sector Federation (PSF), told The New Times that many farmers are largely unaware of agrochemical product use.

She said wrong prescription while applying them in plantations degrades soil, and adversely affects crop productivity, and at worst damages people's lives.

She pointed out that the fact that pesticides were being sold by unqualified dealers was detrimental to human life and crop productivity.

The new regulations are very important as they provide for skilled dealers, such as those holding at least a secondary school certificate (A2) in agronomy, engage in such trade, she said.

"You realise that some dealers were not able to even read and understand the prescriptions on the pesticide. A farmer might bring to a dealer a crop leaf that has been affected by a pest or disease, and they expect the dealer to help them with effective pesticide. So, how do you expect that unskilled dealer to help a farmer?" she wondered.

Minister Mukeshimana, said that "pesticides should be used for us to get desired yields, but they should be applied properly not to harm lives of people."

Registering pesticides

Evariste Safari, the head of Rwanda Agriculture Inputs Dealers Association (RAIDA), and chairman of the board of agrochemical Advisory Council Members said pesticides, and fertiliser dealers have six months from now to register their products, including, pesticides, shops, and stocks of pesticides to get licenses to do the business.

"A person should not sell Irish potatoes, rice, or other commodities and pesticides in the same shop. It will ensure farmers use quality, standard pesticides," he said.

The license is valid for five years renewable; according to Safari.

proper follow-up will be made to monitor the performance of the holder and ensure that they meet the requirements, he said.

Safari said that they want to test main pesticides such as 'Betane' used for spraying in Irish potatoes and tomatoes, which are used more often (or largely) by farmers so that they ensure they are not counterfeited.

So far, Safari said, there are about 700 identified pesticides and fertiliser dealers.


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