Loss of soil biodiversity through judicious use of synthetic pesticides; A case study of Trans Nzoia county Kenya
Keywords:Pesticides, biodiversity, soil organisms, ecosystems
Trans Nzoia County is one of Kenya’s leading food basket regions and enjoys favourable climatic conditions for crop production. With climatic change, farmers face challenges of soil infertility and pest and disease infestation, contributing to crop yield losses. Trans Nzoia County farmers rely heavily on synthetic pesticides to boost crop production and yields. In Kenya, 44% of the chemical pesticides used are banned in the EU market. Of these, 76% of the total volume sold contains active ingredients such as glyphosate, mancozeb, and paraquat, categorized as highly hazardous pesticides. Pesticide-intensive agriculture is on the rise in Trans Nzoia County, and the associated pollution are the driving factor in the precipitous decline of soil biodiversity, such as ground-nesting bees and beetles. Also, overreliance on synthetic pesticides contributes to the loss of beneficial soil microorganisms such as mycorrhizal species and earthworms responsible for nitrogen fixation, organic matter decomposition, and water and nutrient absorption. The author provides insights into the extent of the loss of beneficial soil organisms through synthetic pesticides. This review discusses the impacts and costs of pesticide use on soil organisms and policy responses.
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