Thursday, 10 July 2008

DDT Threatens Organic Cotton in Africa

In Uganda spraying of the highly controversial insecticide DDT has spoiled organic crops in Uganda. As Ecotextile News states in their report, over 11,000 farmers in Uganda are now stuck with cotton after it was rejected by buyers from the Dutch organic cotton firm BoWeevil due to DDT spraying in the area.

Marc van Esch from BoWeevil, who I met in Uganda last November when I visited organic cotton farms there (see my blog-report), said if the Ministry of Health continues spraying DDT where they have their programmes, they will close down their businesses and industries. “Many export commodities will not be able to find Western markets any more. The consequences will be enormous and disastrous,” he told All Africa. “Although we think that there are better alternatives than DDT. Eventually more people will die of poverty.”

In Europe and USA the use of DDT is banned since the sixties, when the book Silent Spring raised awareness on the disastrous environmental and health effects of pesticides. DDT has been banned worldwide under the Stockholm Convention, but usage in agriculture and malaria prevention is still a widespread practice in development countries. There are also voices to allow a careful use of DDT to combat epidemic spread of malaria. But meanwhile the use of DDT itself makes mosquitoes more and more resistant.

But who is actually producing and selling this DDT? Chemical companies who might not be too said to ruin the market of organic cotton. Because they are the same companies who have a large interest in selling their pesticides and insecticides on the global market. And who might even be involved in the medical industry, an industry still preventing Africa from getting affordable malaria medicines. What game is actually going on here?


Ed Darrell said...

Please restore my earlier post -- and give some guidance in answering the questions.

Frans Prins said...

Hi Ed, I tried to email you but it did not work.

I cleared your post away because with this rather sensitive case I find a call for a boycott rather radical and do not want to support that.

If you want to discuss the matters with me, please write me a short mail and we exchange our opinions on the topic.

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