A Nairobi-based company that leases out tractors to farmers in a bid to boost food production, has urged the government to ban a popular herbicide which has been associated with cancer
TingA East Africa has appealed to the government to phase out the glyphosate-based weed killer popularly known as roundup.
TingA General manager Philip Nyandieka said that even the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on cancer had categorised the herbicide as a carcinogen.
Carcinogen is any substance or radiation that promotes the formation of cancer in the human body.
“We should not wait until more lives are lost before we take action. If we fail to act now, many Kenyans will continue to die of cancer,” said Mr Nyandieka.
Speaking in Naivasha on Thursday, Mr Nyandieka said that various studies indicate that farmers apply glyphosate on crops such as oats, wheat, beans and other crops before harvesting.
“The herbicide could get into food products,” said Mr Nyandieka.
The official noted that research done elsewhere has linked the herbicide to birth defects in animals.
“If we fail to act fast, this will affect our economy as the international community will not allow local produce to enter global markets,” said Mr Nyandieka.
He added: “Nobody in the international market will be interested in buying products with life-threatening elements.”
There is a growing public concern over the continuous usage of glyphosate with local and international agronomists calling for total ban of the weed killer.
Several countries in the world have joined the call to ban the use of these herbicides following a wave of lawsuits against Monsanto and parent company Bayer by those diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup in America.
At least 30 countries have banned the herbicide while many others are contemplating to prohibit its use.
“If developing nations in Europe have banned the herbicides why are we till allowing the use of killer herbicides?” posed Mr Nyandieka.
Recently, a magistrate in California, US, ruled that roundup had caused cancer on a gardener who was employed to spray roundup in a school compound.
After three years of working as a gardener, doctors said that Mr Dwayne Johnson had a few months to live as 80 per cent of his body was affected by cancer.