Regulation of Pesticides in Developing Countries
What is an appropriate regulatory response to the enormous growth of pesticide use in developing countries? The question falls within the broader issue of how developing countries deal with the consequences of their application of technological packages to agricultural production. As developing countries step up efforts to improve agricultural production, there are rising concerns about the social and economic costs of their agricultural development in terms of the negative health and environmental impact that pesticides are or are likely to cause. Further, developed countries are concerned that adverse effects of pesticides may spill over to their consumers when they import and consume agricultural products on which pesticides have been applied in developing countries. It would be difficult to address the regulatory situation in all developing countries with regard to pesticides. Therefore, this Article focuses on Kenya and seeks to examine the extent to which Kenya's laws prevent, minimize, punish, or remedy consequences and actions involving pesticides. Law plays an enormously important role in protecting health and the environment from adverse consequences of pesticide technology, yet Kenya's existing laws have not provided effective protection to health and the environment from adverse impacts of pesticides.
This Article is not an attack on pesticides or pesticide use as such. What the Article calls for is a rational use of pesticides that allows for consideration of the actual and potential detriments. The Article is not intended to blame Kenya or to highlight its failure in the area of health and environmental protection. Rather, it serves as an example of the kinds of measures a developing country can take to deal with negative consequences of development. After providing a background of pesticide use in Kenya, the Article examines Kenya's laws that are intended to regulate pesticides and laws that are intended for other purposes but have relevance to pesticides. This examination demonstrates that although law would play an enormously important role in protecting health and the environment from adverse consequences of the pesticide technology, Kenya's existing laws have not provided effective protection to health and the environment from adverse impacts of pesticides. The Article also looks at the various international treaties and agreements that regulate the use of pesticides. They too are inadequate for purposes of regulating pesticides in Kenya. The Article then looks at a recently enacted law, the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, that gives hope that pesticides will be better regulated in the country. The Article concludes with a number of suggestions for the improvement of existing laws and their enforcement machinery, including legal reform and the creation of supportive tools and mechanisms. Any measures taken, however, must be suitable to the circumstances of the people of Kenya.