This paper identifies options for replacing paraquat and distils practical lessons from numerous successes around the world.
Authors: Alexander M. Stuart, Charles N. Merfield, Finbarr G. Horgan, Sheila Willis, Meriel A. Watts, Fernando Ramírez-Muñoz, Jorge Sánchez U, Leah Utyasheva, Michael Eddleston, Mark L. Davis, Lars Neumeister, Manoé R. Sanou & Stephanie Williamson
Published in: Environmental Science and Pollution Research
A small proportion of the thousands of pesticides on the market today are associated with a disproportionately high incidence of severe acute pesticide poisoning and suicide.
Paraquat stands out as one of the most lethal pesticides in common use, frequently involved in fatal incidents due to suicides or accidental exposure. Even though paraquat has been banned in over 67 countries, it is still widely used in many others, particularly in Asia and Latin America.
Based on a literature review and consultations, this paper identifies options for replacing paraquat and distils practical lessons from numerous successes around the world. Our aim is to support regulators, policymakers, agronomists and the supply chain sector with practical information related to phasing out paraquat.
Production data consistently failed to show any negative effects of banning paraquat on agricultural productivity. A wide range of alternative approaches to weed management and crop defoliation are available, many of which do not rely on herbicides. Over 1.25 million farmers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) successfully produce a range of crops for private voluntary standards (PVS) in food and fiber supply chains which prohibit paraquat use.
We conclude from the findings of this study that eliminating paraquat will save lives without reducing agricultural productivity. Less hazardous and more sustainable alternatives exist. To enhance successful adoption and uptake of these methods on a wide scale, farmers require training and support within an enabling policy environment.