Case study: Reducing pesticide residues on horticultural crops (2003)

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Production and export of horticultural products are increasing rapidly in many developing countries. From 1970 to 2002, fruit and vegetable production in developing countries almost quadrupled from 256 to 960 million metric tons, while exports more than tripled from 1.9 to 6.5 million metric tons. Demand for these high-value commodities is stimulated by income growth, reductions in transportation costs, and, in some cases, increased market access. Production for export is often encouraged as a means of generating foreign exchange, increasing incomes to producers, and providing employment for the rural poor. Importing countries benefit from increased supplies of products that historically have been scarce and expensive in the off-season.

Rapid growth in horticultural production has been accompanied by heavy use of pesticides and by heightened concern over health effects associated with pesticide use and abuse. Heavy pesticide use occurs, in part, because numerous pests attack horticultural crops, including the fruit itself, reducing market value and yield on high-value crops. Pesticide use raises safety concerns for agricultural workers who apply pesticides. Concern is particularly high in flower production because of heavy spraying in enclosed conditions. Potential food safety risks from pesticide residues are also a significant issue for importers of fresh fruits and vegetables and a market-risk factor for exporters who may have shipments detained or rejected if residues exceed allowable limits.
Language: English
Imprint: 2020 Focus No 10, Brief 10 of 17, September 2003: 2003
Series: Policy brief,