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> EU: DDT May Contaminate Exports

International Labour Organisation,
FIT-SEMA Small Enterprise Media in Africa Project
PO Box 7184, Kampala Uganda
Fax : +256 31 262404
Tel : +256 31 262405, 077 725 097
E-mail: okibenge@fit-sema.net

Press Release
Date:11th Feb.2005
Title………………………………………………………………………………
Government officials, environmentalists and organic exporters failed to agree over the proposed spraying of DDT to fight malaria.
Esther Aryada, Operations officer of Trade at the European Union office in Kampala said Uganda risks loosing its market share in the EU if they applied DDT without proper monitoring systems.
“Should Uganda use DDT, they must ensure that it does not contaminate the food chain, and that a system is in place to monitor food stuffs for its presence. Even with such measures in place, there is still the risk of losing Uganda’s market share in the EU because of the concerns of EU consumers and buyers,” she said.
She said over 30% of Uganda’s exports are destined to the EU, comprising fish, flowers, coffee and other agricultural products.
Aryada said the EU has developed the maximum residue levels(MRL) of DDT in imports ranging from 0.05-1/mg/kg.
“Food products originating from Uganda would have to be tested and if levels of DDT exceed the MRL, they would be denied entry into the EU,” she said.
Aryada said the DDT debate should be less driven by concerns of the EU and other markets but with more of the concerns of Ugandans
Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, from the population secretariat however said allegations that spraying DDT using the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) method is dangerous to the economy lack credibility.
Presenting a paper during a media debate on the topic “Will the use of D.D.T affect Uganda’s organic exports industry,” he said arguments should not be based on inconclusive evidence.
“We should distinguish the use of DDT in agriculture. DDT when used properly as part of a well managed IRS programe is highly effective, safe to humans and the environment,” he said.
The International Labour Organisation’s FIT –SEMA (Small Enterprise Media in Africa) Project organized the debate held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel, February 10th.
Musinguzi said malaria is not only the biggest killer in Sub-Saharan Africa but also drives the population to have more children.
“When malaria kills, it drives people to bear more children creating uncontrolled population growth,” he said.
But Moses Kiggundu Muwanga, Coordinator National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) said spillage of DTT into the environment couldn’t be controlled.
“Whatever method is used to spray DDT indoors, it will find its way into the food chain. We should examine the socio-economic impact of DDT and look at alternative ways.” He said.
Muwanga said that South Africa and Egypt should not be used as examples of countries that had used DDT with no impact on the economy because they do not export agricultural products like Uganda does.
Dr. Robert Rutagi, General Manager National Medical stores said the most recent doctoral research on Uganda’s competitiveness in the domestic regional and global markets did not identify DDT as one of the factors that would adversely affect Uganda’s exports.

Media debate on DDT 10th Feb 05
Organised by FIT-Sema funded by ILO
1. DDT is classified under “ Persistent Organic Pollutants” which are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods of time, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife. A 1995 study on the effect of DDT have found that is highly toxic to fish and affects fish behaviour, e.g temperature selection and balance, and can lead to slow growth. It is acutely toxic to birds. Up to 50% of DDT and its break down products can remain in soil 10-15 years after application.
2. The production, use and trade of DDT is covered by 2 Conventions: Rotterdam (trade) and Stockholm (production and use).
3. The Rotterdam Convention requires exporters of hazardous substances to receive ‘Prior Informed Consent’ of importers. The Convention promotes the safe use of these substances by importers, through labelling standards, TA and other forms of support. This Convention entered into force in February 2004. Uganda is not a signatory yet, but under the list of Interim PIC countries.
4. The Stockholm Convention aims to protect human health and environment from POPs. Signatory Governments undertake to implement measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POP’s in the environment. It entered into force in March 2004. Uganda acceded to the Stockholm Convention in July 2004.
5. The Stockholm Convention permits the use of DDT for controlling mosquitoes, but in accordance with WHO recommendations and guidelines and only when locally safe, effective and affordable alternatives are not available. Conference of Parties and WHO reviews this need every 3 years.
DDT and trade
1. The EU has offered duty-free and quota free market access to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of which Uganda is one. LDC’s that are members of the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group also enjoy preferences under the Cotonou Agreement.
2. With duty free access to the EU, LDC’s like Uganda only have to comply to Standards.
3. Over 30% of Uganda’s exports are destined to the EU, comprising fish, flowers, coffee and other agricultural products. As the Delegation in Uganda, we would certainly want to see this trend growing.
4. The production and use of DDT is banned in the EU
5. In 1990, the EU issued a directive on imports containing DDT, among other hazardous chemicals. Food imports listed include fruits (E.g bananas, avocadoes, mangoes) , vegetables (carrots) fruiting vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers), potatoes, tea, etc.
6. The EU has further developed Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) of DDT in these categories of imports, ranging between 0.05-1 mg/kg. Food products originating from Uganda would have to be tested, and if levels of DDT exceed the MRL, they would be denied entry into the EU.
7. Regulation 2092/91 sets out the inputs and practices which may be used in organic farming and growing, and the inspection system which must be put in place to ensure this. This Regulation also applies to processing, processing aids and ingredients in organic foods.
8. Food products are certified as organic by companies mainly based in Europe and US. Once the certification is given, there is no further requirement for testing
9. The EU market for food and food products is driven by consumers. Buyers set their own standards which are often more stringent than statutory requirements prescribed by the EC. Exporters must meet these requirements if their products are to be sold in the EU.
10. If Uganda decides to use DDT, they must ensure the following:
a. It does not contaminate the food chain
b. Set up a system to monitor food stuffs for its presence
c. Adhere to provisions of the Stockholm Convention
Conclusion
1. EU recognises Uganda’s sovereign right to protect the health of her citizens
2. EU and Uganda have enjoyed positive trade relations, currently with a surplus in Uganda’s favour. Over 30% of Uganda’s exports are destined to the EU, comprising fish, flowers, coffee and other agricultural products.
3. The production and use of DDT is governed by international conventions, to which Uganda has either acceded (Stockholm) or is in the process of doing so (Rotterdam)
4. The EU has set Maximum Residue Levels for DDT. These are standards over which there is no compromise, as doing so would put the health of EU citizens are risk.
5. If Uganda should use DDT, they must ensure that it does not contaminate the food chain, and that a system is in place to monitor food stuffs for its presence
6. Even with such measures in place, there is still the risk of losing Uganda’s market share in the EU because of the concerns of EU consumers and buyers.
7. While trade with the EU is important, the primary consideration for all Ugandans is their own health.

Estella Aryada
Operations Officer (Trade)
EC Delegatio

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