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FAO backs management of empty pesticide packaging in West Africa

The GCP/INT/147/GEF Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and coordinated by FAO, has targeted Senegal’s Missirah to manage existing packaging and put in place a mechanism for sustainable management of empty packaging

Missirah is located in the north of Senegal, in the Tambacounda region, and derives most of its economic resources from agriculture based on cotton cultivation and vegetables. These various agricultural activities also use pesticides, the use of which produces empty packaging. The lack of a management mechanism for this packaging, which increases with each agricultural season, jeopardises the health of the population and the environment.

A micro-project for the management of empty pesticide packaging was set up with the involvement of all agricultural stakeholders including producers and agricultural supervisors.

Before the implementation of this micro-project, some managers of input shops asked producers at the end of the season to bring back old empty packaging to be re-supplied with pesticides. This has reduced the rate of empty packaging that is usually thrown away in the immediate vicinity of cotton crops after use.

Overall, the majority of empty pesticide packaging in Missirah can be accounted for and traced because it is made from subsidised inputs and supplied by a well-structured company that has been established in the area for several decades. On this basis, cotton and vegetable producers were trained and made aware of the triple rinsing of empty packaging and they committed themselves to rinsing and collecting empty packaging during the 2021-2022 season and depositing it in the village shops identified for this purpose.

The stakeholders unanimously agreed that the current collection methodology for empty pesticide packaging should be renewed and that producers should apply the collection rules in a structured and organised manner under the supervision of supervisors.

There is hope for improved management of empty pesticide packaging in Missirah, according to the project's national expert in Senegal, Mbargou Lo, who coordinated all the awareness-raising and training activities for producers. He said, "We found that awareness-raising on the need for ecological management of empty packaging was successful in all the areas visited, as most producers collected the empty packaging from the phytosanitary treatments of the current campaign".

For the national expert of the project in Senegal, it is necessary to continue the awareness-raising sessions for producers so that they adopt these mechanisms for managing empty pesticide packaging and also to provide training for market gardeners who use a lot of pesticides.