CAMA chastisises Pesticides Control Board’s failure to control unlicensed pesticide traders

Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) has written a petition the Speaker of Parliament alerting the august House of the proliferation of pesticides being sold by unlicensed traders and from unregistered premises, saying the Pesticide Control Board (PCB) has failed to enforce the law as prescribed.

Copied to chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee of Agriculture & Irrigation CAMA said it conducted a pesticide market inspections on the proliferation of sale pesticide and discovered that traders are operating without a licence issued by the PCB.

“The law on pesticides control is very clear as to who is supposed to sale, store, distribute and import pesticides,” says the petition issued by CAME Executive Director, John Kapito. “Section 23-(1) stipulates that no person shall manufacture, export, distribute, store for sale, or sell a pesticide without a licence issued by Pesticide Control Board and in accordance with any conditions prescribed by the Board. 

“Section 25–1(c) stipulates that the premises and manner in which, and the conditions under which, the pesticide will be stored or offered for sale are appropriate for the intended purpose, and will not endanger human, or animal health or the environment. 

“It is, therefore, disturbing that despite such an enabling law and an enforcement agency, the PCB has failed to enforce the law as prescribed. These pesticides are sold openly under the nose and watchful eye of the PCB by unlicensed traders — posing serious health danger to consumers.”

Kapito contends that “there was a good reason why Parliament enacted the Pesticide Control Act (CAP. 35:03) and its regulations including the establishment of a Regulatory Authority and it is disappointing that pesticides are now illegally sold and distributed by unlicensed traders more than before the Pesticide Act was enacted”.

“Pesticides are a specialised trade with a specialised Regulatory Authority and it is very shocking that currently Government is failing to manage the proliferation of these dangerous chemicals that are silently killing a lot of innocent consumers and traders because of the failure to enforce the Law. 

“Pesticide trade is big business and CAMA suspects corruption is rampant within the enforcement agencies — hence the failure to control the current proliferation of these dangerous chemicals on the market that are now in the hands of unscrupulous traders”. 

Kapito notes that the illegal pesticide business “has become one of the fastest growing businesses conducted in all markets throughout the country done visibly” while the PCB “is failing to provide enforcement and hold those breaking the law accountable”.

“CAMA is, therefore, appealing to Parliament to immediately investigate why such a robust pesticide law cannot be enforced and further request the appropriate Parliamentary Committee to visit any market of their choice and witness how pesticides have ended up in the hands of unscrupulous, unlicensed and untrained traders who are putting the lives of many consumers at risk.”

True to the observation by CAMA, Nyasa Times can also attest of the proliferation of such pesticide traders who roam about residential locations and market their various pesticide products using megaphones.

From their relentless and continuous rounds around neighbourhoods is an indication that theirs is a very viable business and are getting good sales from their products, that include pesticides that kill rats, ants, cockroaches, ticks as well as those used to mix with maize for storage to kill weevils.

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