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> Businesses Urge Govt to Rescind Use of DDT

The Monitor (Kampala)

NEWS 18 March 2008

By Dorothy Nakaweesi
Kampala
THE ferocious debate about the use of DDT chemicals to control the spread of malaria has picked up again with the private sector threatening to ally with the European Union against the government.

“Zero tolerance on DDT spraying is the feeling of the private sector. Even at the East African Community DDT is a condemned chemical. Government should look for other alternatives,” Mr David Lule, the managing director of Hortexa, a horticultural exporting association to the EU, said.

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The renewed controversy stems from the increasing threats from the EU, which is the leading importer of Uganda’s products. The EU is concerned that spraying DDT would endanger the lives of their consumers and would therefore put a total ban on any commodity found containing DDT residues.

Members of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda Trade Core Team at their quarterly meeting chaired by Mr George Walusimbi challenged government to use other DDT alternatives on the market.

This comes even after the World Health Organisation (WHO) last year, okayed the government’s decision to use DDT for control malaria within domestic enclosures and not in gardens. The ministry of Health also announced that Uganda would start using DDT in June.

At a heated debate, PSFU members asked their board to draw a specific draft paper on DDT about its likely dangers and threat to the growth of the export industry should it be used.

“There is need to look at the total cost of spraying DDT in comparison with the country’s export value. A lot has been said but as PSFU we need to inform the government how much the country is likely to lose if a ban is slapped on us,” Mr Ismail Sekandi, the executive director of Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) said.

A ban from the EU, Uganda’s largest trading partner, would come as a blow to the export industry that is already struggling with supply constraints to deliver to the market despite a zero tariff regime to the EU under the Everything but Arms arrangement.

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