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The Agrochem Industry Association in Kenya was started by Pest Control Ltd founded in England by Dr. Ritter who had been granted contract to spray cotton in Sudan.  The company set up a base in Kenya in 1947 to overhaul spray equipment and by 1949 it began trading in Kenya.  Pest Control Ltd was joined by other four companies namely African Explosives and Chemical Industries (AE &CI) a subsidiary of International Chemical Industries (ICI), Fisons, Murphy Chemicals (Still members of the Association) and Shell Chemicals (a subsidiary of Shell Oil)

In the early 1950’s only five products were in the Kenyan market and were DDT, 2-4-D, TEPP, Tixol (Arsenic based) and Copper formulation probably Bordeaux mixture.  However, in the decade between 1950 and 1960, a veritable flood of new products entered the pesticide market.  By 1958, the government of Kenya was trying to establish standards in the local formulations particularly in dusting powders.  It was then that Mr. Phil Clinton of Twiga (Successor of AE & CI), Mr. Jim Paddock of Fisons, who had bought out Pest Control Limited, Mr. Tom Rowland of Murphy Chemicals and Mr. Harvey Storm of Shell Chemicals held a meeting and decided to create an organization so as to be able to show a joint approach when discussion with the government.  They were joined by R. O Hamilton and set up agreements with the main distributors in market at the time namely: Kenya Farmers Association (KFA), B.E.A. Corporation (Owners of Mitchel Cotts and Simpson and Whitelaw Seed Merchants).

Soon after, a new local company Kleenway Chemicals  founded by Mr. John Roach and Henk Shottmann entered  the market and created strong competition through price undercutting.  This did not endear well with the “big boys” who in turn formed the “Copper Club” in an attempt to do something about the new invader.  Thereafter other new competitors joined in the fray.  It is for this reason despite all sorts of stories about pesticide cartel that it has been impossible for any group of companies to fix prices, as there is soon a lean and hungry competitor waiting to undercut prices. The “Copper Club” then transformed itself to Pesticide Chemical Association of East Africa in 1958 and hence the birth of the industry association.

The advent of independence in the early 1960’s saw the emergence of small scale farmer, cooperative societies.  Thus the need to repack pesticide products into smaller packs and with subsequent need for training on products and their application to the small scale market.  In addition, many new foreign companies amongst them Hoechst, BASF, Montedision, DuPont, American Cyanamid, Ciba Geicy, May & Baker as well as several local companies entered the market.  All these entrants added to the swirl of activities and were invited to join the burgeoning group known as the Pesticide Chemicals Association of East Africa.

The 1970 saw the creation of East African Federation and the Association retained the name Pesticide Chemicals Association of East Africa.  However in 1977, following the collapse of the East African Community, the association name was changed to Pesticide Chemicals Association of Kenya (PCAK).

The Pesticide Chemicals Association of Kenya registered its logo as a sign of quality in the early 1980s.  During this period the Association registered the Association’s logo with Registrar of Companies at the Attorney General’s Office.  It was during this same period that the Government of Kenya initiated the process of enacting the pesticide law. In 1982, the Pest Control Products Act, Cap 346 was enacted to regulate the importation, exportation, manufacture, distribution and use of products for the control of pests and the organic functions of plants and animals and for connected purposes.  The Pest Control Products Act was operationalised in 1984.  In order to meet the challenges identified in the new pesticide regulations, the association set up training courses on safe and effective use of pesticides.  The Association initiated public sector partnership on training with stakeholders notably the Pest Control Products Board and the Ministry of Agriculture on safe and effective use of pesticides.

The 1990s saw the launch of Safe Use Project and need for the industry to develop product stewardship programmes.  This brought about considerable changes in the pesticide marketing techniques and methodology.  During that period, the Association invited into Kenya two instructors from Wolvechampton Polytechnic in the United Kingdom to train the first trainers on safe use of pesticides, in what was to become a major operation in Kenya.  The success of this training programme encouraged the global federation GIFAP to agree to come to Kenya to start the Safe Use Project in 1991.

The GIFAP Safe Use Project provided lead in demonstrating how use of pest control products can be improved.  Through this project over 1,000,000 small scale farmers, agricultural extension personnel and pesticide distributors received training.  In 1997, the Pesticide Chemicals Association of Kenya name was changed to Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) to reflect the widening interests of its members.

The 2000's witnessed global changes in the agrochemical industry.  The GIFAP changed the name to Global Crop Protection Federation (GCPF) and eventually to CropLife International.  This eventually resulted in the global reorganization of the industry and the formation of CropLife Africa Middle East to represent interests of Africa and Middle East Countries of which the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) was a founder member.

There are other organizations representing CropLife International in other regions namely: CropLife America, CropLife Canada, CropLife Latin America, CropLife Asia, European Crop Protection Association and Japan Crop Protection Association.  This eventually resulted to the birth of CropLife Kenya in 2005 as an affiliate of Agrochemicals Association of Kenya and was to facilitate the international collaboration with global institutions in the aspects of industry sustainability.

The Chairmen of the local Agrochem Industry Association over the years are:

Name   Year
MR. N.A. TOMALIN   1958, 1959, 1960
MR. R. J. GREAVES   1961
MR. N. A TOMALIN   1962, 1963
MR. NELSON ALBERT   1964
MR. UNO CARL VICTOR   1965, 1966
MR. JAMES MELVIN PADDOCK   1967, 1968
MR. PHILIP K.S. CLINTON   1969, 1970, 1971
MR. H.W. STORM   1972
MR. J.M. PADDOCK   1973, 1974
DR. J. K. NDETI   1975
MR. H. M. G. HENSON   1976
MR. I. A. BROWN   1977
DR. STEPHEN MULINGE   1978
MR. R. H. HOOD   1979
MR. GEORGE PROTZEN   1980
MR. T.K. NJUE   1981, 1982
MR. J. WAINAINA   1983, 1984,
MR. C. G. MBUTHIA   1985, 1986
MR. T. K. MUTISO   1987, 1988
MR. R. COMBES   1989, 1990
MR. JACKSON MBATHA   1991, 1992
MR. JOHN W. MATHARE   1993, 1994, 1995
MR. O. K. NGINJA   1996, 1997, 1998
MR. J. WAINAINA   1999, 2000, 2001
PROF. VASEY MWAJA   2002, 2003, 2004
MR. GITAU MACHARIA   2005, 2006, 2007
MR. D. K. KAGWE   2008, 2009
MR. A. K. OTIENO   2010, 2011
MR. KURIA GATONYE   2012, 2013, 2014
 Mrs. Susan Njoroge   2015, 2016

 

1. KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

For almost five decades now, the association has been a major spring board for advancing agricultural interests in the country.  Since its inception, the association in collaboration with the government and other stakeholders has successfully promoted safe, effective, environmentally friendly and profitable use of pest control products in Kenya.

Therefore the achievements of the Agrochem industry include:

(a)   Safe Use Training

The misconception regarding pesticide usage can be eliminated through training on safe and effective use of pesticides. The Association has in the past conducted training of farmers, pastoralists, stockists, industry staff, health workers and extension agents. Through CropLife International and its predecessors, the Association has trained over one million farmers, pastoralists, extension agents, distibutors and stockists. The training has been facilitated through joint partnerships with the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Health.

(b) Empty Pesticide Container Collection Progress

The Association with Lake Naivasha Growers Group initiated a successful program for the collection of pesticide containers with the objective of assisting the horticultural growers meet international standards for export market.  Through the program over 2 million pesticide containers were collected and disposed of safely.  This initiative has now been extended to cover other parts of the country.

(c) Obsolete Pesticide Safeguarding Project

The Association in conjunction with CropLife International and The Ministry of Agriculture is taking the inventory and safeguarding of obsolete pesticides in the country. (ongoing).

(d) Poison Information and Emergency Centre

The Association in collaboration with the Pest Control Product Board,  the Pharmacy and Poison Board, the Ministry of Health, the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital initiated a poison information and management program. The program has succeeded in (a) the development of a pesticide poisoning management chart (b) the training of a number of doctors and pharmacists on pesticide poisoning, (c)  the establishment of Poison Referral Centre at  Kenyatta National Hospital, and the establishment of two toll-free numbers based at the centre.

(e) Promotion of Better Environment

The Association has initiated an afforestation program to support tree planting in addition to the successful annual environmental award program that recognizes organizations and individual efforts in environmental conservation.

(f) Industry Government Partnership

The Association collaborated with the Pest Control Products Board in the amendment and development of new Regulations under the Pest Control Products Act.

The regulations include:

- The Pest Control Products (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations, 2006.

- The Pest Control Products (Licensing of Premises) (Amendment) Regulation, 2006.

- The Pest Control Products (Importation and Exportation) (Amendment) Regulations, 2006.

- The Pest Control Products (Disposal) Regulations, 2006.

- The Pest Control Products (Labelling, Advertising and Packaging) (Amendment) Regulations, 2006

- Development of Industry Quality Mark together with PCPB and Kenya Bureau of Standards.

(g) Regional Integration of Pesticide Industry

In addition, the association has continued support for regional integration of the pesticide industry. This has been exhibited by the AAK commitment to the East African collaboration and support of the harmonization of the pesticide registration in the East and Southern Africa. AAK is the convenor for the ongoing integration process for the East African Industry Association.  With a well organized regional institution, the industry will be able to continue with the fight against smuggling and adulteration of the pesticides.

(h) Industry Sustainability

The Association has  successfully established and operationalized a levy fund to enhance and sustain industry activities AAK has also launched a program with sector ministries to strengthen the farmer/pastoralist field support services.

(i) Promotion of New Technologies

AAK has continued to support new technologies in the field of agricultural production. These include the support for biotechnology and integrated pest management. The Association supports the Bio safety principals as articulated in the Bio safety policy. AAK successfully negotiated with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU_IBAR) on the commercialization and privatalization of ECF-ITM through the Technology Group of East Africa Limited (TEGEA) as the vehicle for vaccine distribution.

(j) Product Stewardship

In Kenya, the association has demonstrated its resolve to promote product stewardship through the member companies. The commitment with which the members of the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya have shown in promoting training of farmers and pesticide distributors as well as participation in the disposal of obsolete pesticides and containers is testimony of the level of commitment to the course. These achievements are exemplified by AAK winning the Golden Trophy for Quality, New Millennium Award for Excellence in Service in Paris, France in 2002

2. CHALLENGES

(a) The agrochemical industry continues to face new challenges each day. Some   of the present challenges include disposal of plastics, packaging materials, pesticide containers, pesticide wastes and cleaning of some “hot spots” contaminated by pesticides over the years.  The cost of handling such challenges is high and with limited financial resources, this is a huge task for the industry.  The association completed an empty pesticide containers survey during 2008 and identified the nature and scope of the problem. The association in collaboration with other stakeholders will formulate strategies to handle pesticide containers in the future.

(b) Also, most recently the risk of reintroducing DDT use in region remains a major threat to the Kenyan agriculture.  Even though Kenya Government has taken a commendable position of rejecting use of DDT, the product can find its way into the country through the porous borders that we share with other countries. The industry in collaboration with other stakeholders has to step up the search for integrated approach to deal with the problem of malaria control.

(c)   The other challenge is the increase of the counterfeit pesticides in the market. This poses a major risk to the country in terms of obsolete pesticide build up in addition to the economic loses to the farmer, industry and the country. In order to meet these challenges, the agrochemical industry continues the pursuance of sustainable pesticide management systems through collaborations with other stake-holders. This will remain the focus for the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya in order to ascertain its future.

3. CONCLUSION

AAK has developed a 10 year Strategic Plan that was launched on 26th March 2010.  The strategic plan will now define the future activities of the Association.

 

Agrochemicals Association Of Kenya (AAK) Membership List