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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to Broadcasters on toxic pesticides:

As this story mentions, many farmers still use highly toxic chemicals such as DDT that they purchase on the black market, despite an international convention against their use. These farmers may not know about less toxic pesticides, or may not be able to afford them – or they simply may not know how dangerous DDT can be.

DDT, or Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, is one of the 12 persistent organic pollutants banned or severely restricted under the Stockholm Treaty. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), DDT can remain in the environment long after it is applied. Over time, DDT and its by-products can accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and can contaminate the food chain. Although the WHO does not believe that DDT has a long-term impact on human health, more and more data suggests that the pesticide may disrupt endocrine and reproductive functions. Countries that have ratified the Convention may continue to use DDT to control mosquitoes that spread malaria, provided that they follow WHO guidelines which stipulate safe and effective application methods. DDT is not a permanent solution to control malaria, thus the Convention encourages ratifying countries to consider safe and affordable alternatives to DDT.

You may wish to find out what your audience thinks about pesticide use by asking questions such as:
-What sorts of pesticides do farmers in your area use to protect their crops? Do they use methods other than pesticide application to manage pests?
-Have any farmers in your area noted negative health or environmental effects that they believe were caused by pesticide use? If so, what did they do to improve the situation?

You may also wish to refer to the following DCFRN scripts on the subject of the harmful effects of some pesticides and the alternatives to chemical pesticides:
Pesticide Safety: Radio Spots (Package 50, Script 9, November 1998)
Radio Spots: Can you control pests without pesticides? (Package 72, Script 3, September 2004)
Biological pest control: Reduce pests naturally (Package 36, Script 6, April 1995)

You may also find these web resources useful:
-An easy-to-read guide to the international conventions on hazardous chemicals and wastes: http://www.pic.int/ResourceKit/A_General%20information/d.3Convention%20brochure/UNEP_threeConventions_engV4.pdf
-A list of the 12 persistent organic pollutants named in the Stockholm Convention: http://www.pops.int/documents/pops/default.htm

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