According Mr David Kabanda, an advocate for socio-economic rights in trade and food systems. In an interview, he explained to Prosper Magazine Ismail Musa Ladu why the use of chemicals on the farm is almost the equivalent of a constant suicide mission – self-destruction.
Why are you opposed to the use of agrochemicals in the country’s agrifood systems?
There is overwhelming evidence that chemicals pose potential risk to humans and other life forms and undesirable side effects to the environment. No part of the population is completely protected against exposure to pesticides and the serious health effects associated with it. Our guards have to be on their feet all the time. The process of regenerating soils that have been rendered lifeless by these chemicals is the business of an entire generation – time that we don’t have before ending up lifeless ourselves.
What are these agrochemicals (agricultural chemicals) you are talking about?
They include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, and plant growth regulators, among others.
Of course, there must be advantages…
If the credit of pesticides includes increased economic potential in terms of increased food and fiber production, and amelioration of vector-borne diseases, then its downside in terms of serious human health implications human and the environment cannot be overstated. The direct gains expected from its use are limited compared to the damage it can inflict on the ecosystem. Just look at the high risk groups exposed to pesticides including production workers, formulators, sprayers, mixers, loaders and farm workers. I can tell you that we would be better off using biological controls and our traditional farming method to deal with the threats posed by pests, diseases and weeds than using deadly and indiscriminate agrochemicals. I can also tell you that during manufacturing and formulation, the possibility of hazards can be higher as the processes involved are not without risk. In industrial settings, workers are at increased risk as they handle a variety of toxic chemicals, including pesticides, raw materials, toxic solvents, and inert media.
You are an advocate of agroecology, saying it is the answer to agrochemistry. Why do you believe it?
The continued use of agrochemicals affects the country’s ability to tap into the lucrative organic market. The implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Policy is on hold as how can it be effectively implemented in this chaotic situation? We believe in agroecology and the related traditional farming system where organic fertilizers and natural local technology are applied to control pests, diseases, weeds and the like. We don’t need synthetics in our food system because we believe our inaction is not only immoral but also illegal.
The use of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) is not permitted, but its use is still evident. What’s wrong?
Local and international legal frameworks are clear on the use of these herbicides, given their dangers. Thus, the government’s failure to ban the use of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) is a violation of the right to life, health, the right to adequate food and a clean and healthy environment. guaranteed by objectives XIII, XXI, XXII, XXVII. , Articles 20, 45, 8A and 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Failure to properly regulate and control the use of agrochemicals is a violation of the economic rights guaranteed by Article 40 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Failure and omission to regulate the use of agrochemicals in the agricultural sector constitutes a violation of the right to adequate food and a clean and healthy environment, contrary to objectives XXII, XXVII, articles 20, 45, 39 of the Ugandan Constitution.
The court ordered the government to immediately ban the use of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) in Uganda and all internationally banned agrochemicals.
He wants the government to initiate a transition from conventional agriculture to agroecological agriculture.
The government should also implement the National Organic Food Policy and Action Plan. Regulations relating to Section 18 (1) (a), (e), (f), (j), (k) of the Agricultural Chemicals (Control) Act 2007 should be enacted.
The government should introduce the use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures to screen food products before they are released to the market by farmers.
The government should also fully implement the extension worker policy and action plan and pass the extension worker bill.
Who bears the responsibility for the right to food?
The right to adequate food, the right to a clean and healthy environment and economic rights are not negotiable.
The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or the means to obtain it.
So how can this be achieved?
Agriculture is there for everything. We need a farming method that increases yields while reducing environmental impacts. With agroecology, which is the type of agriculture I am talking about, we can be assured of the adequacy and sustainability of food availability and access. It also means that we will be free of harmful substances, resulting from the unnecessary use of chemicals on crops as well as on agricultural land.
You don’t seem to be saying that regulation of agrochemicals is lacking.
There are serious enforcement issues that need to be addressed. Someone sleeps on the job, but there are laws that can be invoked to deal with this hemorrhage.
You must understand that the rule of law is not just a decoration of development; it is a vital source of progress. It creates an environment in which the full spectrum of human creativity can flourish and prosperity can be built.
So do you think that the problem is not necessarily the law, but its assessment and its application?
When the law is understood and for all, it defines and enforces the rights and obligations of all. It allows people to interact with each other in a certain and predictable atmosphere. I can tell you that no modern market economy can function without law, and to be legitimate, power itself must submit to law. Thus, the rule of law in agroecology is not a mere adornment of development; it is a vital source of progress. It creates an environment in which the full spectrum of human creativity can flourish and prosperity can be built.
Now that is what it is. Where do we go from here?
There should be a revision of the National Agricultural Policy and the National Development Plan III to include agroecology-specific interventions.
We also believe in the need to identify, document and standardize local traditional knowledge and technologies. This is in addition to the integration of organic and agroecological farming into the teaching curriculum.
Furthermore, we believe that the promotion of the establishment of demonstration farms and community learning centers in agroecology, offering incentives for investment in the added value of organic and agroecological products, must be a must,
Create community seed banks to promote community seed multiplication and sharing, promote agroecology as a tool for financial inclusion and food security while implementing the parish development model and conducting research and Documenting the impact of the use of synthetic chemicals in agriculture on land and water and other natural resources should be a priority.