Yemen returned back 195 tons of pesticides during the first half of this year. These quantities of pesticides are prohibited and entered the country illegally.
Director of Plant Protection at the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Abdullah Al-Sayani said that these pesticides have been stopped at the border and accumulated there to be retuned to the countries imported from.
These pesticides were turned back to the countries they were produced because they entered the country illegally and some of them are prohibited, he said." These pesticides came from China, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates."
He indicated that the Protection of Plant General Directorate in cooperation with custom authority has been able to return back five trucks containing 86 tons of illegal pesticides from Hudiedah Port.
Al-Sayani revealed that the ministry of agriculture is carrying out campaigns to reduce importing pesticides to the country as they are dangerous to human health and on environment. During the first half of this year, the ministry has carried out 11 campaigns to inspect stores selling pesticides in Sanaa, Taiz, Ibb, Hudeidah, Dhamar and Al-Baidhaa.
These campaigns resulted in closing 61 stores violated pesticides law out of 139 inspected stores in targeted governorates. According to Al-Sayanni, 4.5 tons of pesticides have been confiscated during the campaign and kept in the ministrys stores. After examination, these pesticides are being used in getting rid of plant epidemics by the ministry.
Over the measures taken by the ministry against violators, Al-Sayani said that 101 violation reports have been made and submitted to the prosecution. However, the ministry has granted three new licenses to import pesticides and renewed 14 others to importers in several governorates after making sure that they fit the law.
However he said that it is difficult to get rid of these pesticides by burning as this process will cause environment catastrophe. At the same time, getting rid of them through specialized companies will cost "the country USD 10 per one litter."
He also admitted that they cannot stop all illegal pesticides coming to the country because of smuggling as there are many ways to smugglers on the vast ground border of Yemen with Saudi Arabia and Oman. "Pesticides smuggling is active like medicine smuggling," he affirmed.
On the other hand, a report issued by the ministry recently on pesticides used in Yemen mentioned that the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation carried a program on measuring the traces of pesticides in agricultural products.
According to the report, a specialized team with portable appliances has made 24 field visits to central markets of vegetables and fruits and qat in a number of governorates to find the remained effect of pesticides in these products.
According to Al-Sayani, the results showed that there are different levels of remaining effects of pesticides in these products and differ from one product to another with qat contains the highest rate of chemicals.
To study more the effects of pesticides on products and identifying the type of the pesticide and its dangers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation launched a specialized central laboratory in Sanaa.
The laboratory will help the ministry identify the traces of pesticides in crops as it is considered one of the modern and accurate means in controlling the pesticides.
According to Al-Sayani, the General Directorate for Plant Protection has started evaluating pesticides existing in the country after operating the laboratory.
In field of eliminating empty bottles of pesticides, the report revealed that great numbers have been covered in save way.
According to Al-Sayani, Yemen imports nearly 360 tons of legal pesticides formally every year and this figure reduced from 500 tons in 2006. He said Yemen is still among the countries which imports limited quantities of pesticides for agricultural production. He argued that to improve the production, the country still needs between 1500-2000 tons every year.
Two years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation circulated a list banning importing 349 types of pesticides to Yemen. The list angered pesticides merchants who described it as abusive measure against their trade.
They directed a message to the president of the republic to interfere in the case and direct the ministry of agriculture to allow them import these types of pesticides they described as of economic profit and did not contain toxics.
However, media reports say that there are 373 types of prohibited pesticides in Yemen and there are 700 kinds of chemicals, toxic items and pesticides used in agriculture and namely for quick production of qat.
According to estimations of officials in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, 80 percent of pesticides go for qat production.
Specialized doctors say these chemicals were of the main reasons behind spreading cancer in Yemen.