In being used in agriculture and industry

In
many African countries agriculture is considered to be the key to economic
development. Agro-intensification has led to negative impact on the surrounding
environment in many parts of the world (Wilson and Tisdell, 2001). The
challenge for future food production in Africa is therefore to intensify the
agricultural production without decreasing the capacity of the environment to
supply the population with other ecosystem services. Agriculture has been the back
born of the Kenyan economy. It is the basis for food security, for economic
growth, employment creation and foreign exchange generation.

The
rapid expansion of the agricultural sector in Kenya has resulted in increased
demand for agrochemicals (Ariga et al., 2006). The use of pesticides has many
benefits, increased crops and animal yields and reduced post harvest losses
(Oerke, et al., 1994).The benefits associated with the use of pesticides have
resulted in an increase in the importation of assorted agrochemicals in the
country. According to Singh et al., (2004), 371886 metric tonnes of fertilizers
were imported in Kenya, 271,886 more than that used in 1990. Kenya’s fertilizer
market was liberalized during the early 1990s when price and marketing
controls, licensing arrangements and import permits and quotas were eliminated
(Ariga et al., 2009).

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Pesticides
are highly toxic and have been associated with serious human health and
environmental damages (Briggs et al, 1989). Extensive use of pesticides in the
agricultural fields is among the most prominent sources of ground water contamination
(Singh et al., 2004). About one-half of the human poisonings occur more in less
developed countries, even though these places account for only 20% of the
world’s use of pesticides. Many chemical substances identified as persistent
organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention are still being used
in agriculture and industry and these results in negative health and
environmental consequences (Ashburner and Friedrich,2001). Today all over the
world consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of food
safety and are therefore demanding high standards in marketed and processed
foods with emphasis also on agricultural practices with minimum detrimental impact
on the environment (MOA, JICA, 2004). Previous pilot studies on pesticide
handling in Thailand, Guatemala and Kenya showed that once the product reaches
retailers shelf, level of control 2 diminishes. The retailers provide little
advice, and very few farmers read or understood labels, few had any training on
safe use of pesticides (Vlahodimos, 1990). Their improper use results in
negative effects on the environment and human health