Capacity Development Portal
Good Practices

Food and agriculture policy

  1. Twin track approach to food security in protracted crises
  2. Food insecurity and vulnerability
  3. Pesticide Policy Reform to Reduce Overuse of Insecticides

Reducing overuse of insecticides by highlighting the consequences, and the alternatives, to policy makers and donor agencies

What problem did it address, where?

Food production intensification can often lead to the overuse of pesticides. This induces new pest outbreaks (pest resurgence), selects resistant pest populations (insects, bacteria, and weeds), increases risks to human health and the environment, and poses obstacles to trade in the form of residues. Countries use policy reform to reduce these problems while continuing to ensure intensified food production by applying alternatives to pesticides. Beginning in the 1980s in South and Southeast Asia and expanding through the present in Asia, Latin America, West Africa, Southern Africa, and most recently the Near East FAO has assisted countries to build on field data and the experience of other countries to reform pesticide policies. Donor agencies have also reformed their pesticide policies, and many bilateral donors restrict their funds for pesticides only to FAO-recognized emergencies such as Desert Locust campaigns.


Field level studies of the yield impact of insecticides in crops, exchange visits by technical staff and policy makers to neighboring countries, national and regional symposia on alternatives, integrated pest management programmes that educate farmers, scientists, and advisory service staff in applying alternatives to pesticides, case studies of technical barriers to trade, and rejections of exports for excess insecticide residues all have catalyzed policy reform. Increasingly, international instruments like the Rotterdam Convention that limits trade in highly hazardous pesticides, and the FAO Code of Conduct on Pesticides encourage national regulatory agencies to re-examine the range of insecticides they permit in the country. De-registering highly hazardous insecticides, shortening the registration period, promoting IPM, using comparative risk assessments and common modes of action in regulatory decisions, and wider

Where next?

All developing member countries have approved the FAO Code of Conduct on Pesticides which encourages review of pesticide policy and the promotion of IPM; any could carry out policy reviews and reforms, especially in preparation for expanding their export markets. Pesticide policy reform has accelerated in some countries (notably Cambodia) in the period 2004-2005.

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