UK supermarket acts to protect bees
Cotton farmers grow food as well as fibre
Millions of farmers in developing countries depend on cotton as their main source of income but are vulnerable to volatile prices in world markets. Organic cotton clearly provides solutions to the negative health and environmental impacts of agrochemical-intensive production but does it keep farmers locked into dependency on export markets? Does it address food security issues? Alexandra Perschau and Stephanie Williamson address these questions.
Improving livelihoods for organic cotton farmers
In West Africa organic cotton is mainly grown by smallholder farmers. Their annual incomes are often meagre and many struggle to support their families. Organic Exchange have surveyed additional crops grown by these farmers which are, by default, also organic. They are also exploring how these ‘food system crops’ can best be marketed to improve farmers incomes. Liesl Truscott reports on the findings.
The worldwide collapse of honeybee colonies has prompted a number of governments to ban or restrict the use of bee-killing pesticides. But the UK government has so far failed to act. Taking over the reins, one of the UK’s biggest farmers and retailers, the Co-operative Group, is now restricting these pesticides on their farms and on any produce they sell. Roslyn McKendry reports.
Dutch farmers launch better foods label
In Europe changes to ensure food is safe, healthy and residue-free are being initiated not just by consumers, NGOs or governments but by all elements of the supply chain. In the Netherlands a farmers’ cooperative is working with NGOs to develop a new label identifying produce grown under low pesticide protocols. Elliott Cannell reports.
Cleaning a polluted site in Mali
Mali is one of seven countries in the Africa Stockpiles Programme, where government-led teams have been identifying and safeguarding toxic stockpiles of obsolete pesticides. A heavily contaminated site in Molodo urgently required soil remediation as it was contaminating local groundwater supplies. Demba Sidibe and Cheikh Hamallah Sylla report on a locally appropriate technology for soil remediation.
Endosulfan banned in West Africa
Abou Thiamof PAN Africa explains the origin of the ban and key requirements to ensure its implementation.
Final hurdle cleared towards EU blacklist
After years of discussion and lobbying, the European Parliament has decided to remove the most hazardous pesticides from its markets. Elliott Cannell reports on this much-welcomed decision.
Other news, reviews and comment
• Startling figures reveal pesticide health assaults
• Organics and pesticide reduction in Cuba
• Sick of pesticides: a new campaign to change policy
• New PAN Publications