A survey has revealed that smallholder farmers could be at health risk from exposure to harmful pesticide due to lack of knowledge on proper management of chemicals.
This is according to a research conducted by the Department of Environmental Affairs, with assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in line with the Rotterdam Convention which Malawi is party to.
Under the Rotterdam Convention, parties are assisted in reduction of risks from hazardous pesticides in international trade and also offer assistance in reviewing their regulatory systems.
Director in the Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining, Taongambale Luka said the survey was conducted to establish the extent of harm that pesticides have on people and the environment in the country.
He added over-reliance on pesticides has increased pesticide health and environmental issues.
According to Luka, information gap especially on pesticide management among farmers is a huge challenge that needs to be seriously addressed specifically in identifying certified pesticides.
Having identified the challenges, the department will work with all relevant departments to ensure that the general public as well as farmers are sensitized on management of harmful pesticides and their implications on health and environment.
Executive Director for the Consumers Association of Malawi John Kapito however said the influx of uncertified pesticides on the markets from unregistered traders especially from neighboring countries is a huge contribution to the current status.