Book release: “Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology”

Press Release by PAN India, Thanal and KAU Students Union

PAN India along with Thanal and KAU Students Union organizing an event at Kerala Aggriculture University Vellayani Campus, Trivandrum on 7th October at 1pm to release the new book on agroecology “Replacing Chemicals with Biology: Phasing out highly hazardous pesticides with agroecology”, published by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International.

The book would be released by Dr. T. M. Thomas Isaac  MLA (former financial minister, Kerala), and the first copy would be received by Mr. Ajmal, General Secretary, Students Union, Kerala Agriculture University, Vellayani, Thiruvanathapuram.

This book was originally launched on 29th September at the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) held in Geneva during 28th September and 2nd October 2015.  The resolution acknowledges that HHPs causes severe adverse effects on human health and the environment.  The ICCM4 has recognized highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) as an "issue of concern." The conference in its resolution, supported concerted action to address HHPs and welcomed a strategy to address them that has been developed by UNEP, FAO and WHO. Significantly, the ICCM4 placed emphasis on the need to promote agroecological alternatives instead of replacing them with another chemical pesticide.

FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in Paris in February this year "The model of agricultural production that predominates today is not suitable for the new food security challenges of the 21st century. Since food production is not a sufficient condition for food security, it means that the way we are producing is no longer acceptable."

"Modern agroecological approaches to food production, together with many of the ecological practices that have evolved with farmers working alongside nature through hundreds of years, are proving to be sustainable, economically advantageous and good for food security" says Dr Meriel Watts from PAN Asia Pacific and main author of the book.

Successful cases of agroecological farming in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and USA, presented in the book, substantiating the long-standing claim that ecological principles applied to agriculture are effective tools in the management of pests, including weeds, and provide sustainable livelihoods to farmers and rural communities.

"There is world recognition that agricultural production cannot continue its business as usual. Agroecology offers a viable strategy to increase agricultural productivity, build farmers' resilience, and protect the environment," says Sarojeni Rengam, executive director of PAN Asia Pacific.

"The experiences in this book show how farmers using agroecological practices benefit from savings on agrochemical inputs and from improving their overall farm productivity. Getting better prices or market options for safer food helps farming households too" says Dr Stephanie Williamson, from PAN UK, and co-author of the book.

The case studies show that agroecological farming can improve food security and strengthen food sovereignty, while providing better adaptation to climate change and reducing harmful environmental impacts.

"Advancing equitable and sustainable development goals in agriculture requires grounding agrifood systems in agroecology as the central strategy," says Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Senior Scientist at PAN North America, and one of the contributors to the book. "By integrating state-of-the-art science with local and traditional knowledge, agroecology offers a powerful solution to today's mounting social, economic and environmental stresses of climate change, water scarcity, land degradation and rural poverty."

Agroecological practices can increase farm productivity and food security, improves rural livelihoods and adaption to climate change, and reduces the environmental impacts of agriculture. The new PAN book was written to address the concerns of policy makers around the world who are faced with the need to replace the use of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) with safer and sustainable alternatives. The book presents national and international policy recommendations designed to help implement the changes necessary to support widespread adoption of agroecology. This book is also to assist governments and policy makers to initiate a collective action to reduce the human impacts of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) and come out with a clear timeline for the global phase-out of HHPs, and to replace the hazardous pesticides with the sound science of agroecology for sustaining agriculture.

Download the book here

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