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Beekeepers in Cote d'Ivoire help reduce dependence on glyphosate pesticide

While Europe wrangles over banning the use of glyphosate – the active ingredient in the Roundup weedkiller accused of damaging human health and biodiversity – farmers on the African continent remain heavily dependent on such herbicides. However, an Ivorian cocoa farmer is showing it's possible to both drop glyphosate and promote beekeeping in the process.

Bayer's glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup is widely used in Africa – from cotton fields in Benin, maize in South Africa to cocoa plantations in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.

Since a 2015 study by the World Health Organization found that long-term exposure to glyphosate made it a "probable carcinogen", and other studies have pointed to a dramatic increase in bee mortality, Europe has been working to reduce glyphosate use.

But despite the alleged risks to human health and the environment, farmers in Africa are having to rely increasingly on glyphosate to compensate for labour shortages as young people leave agricultural regions for cities.

In a 2019 documentary by French public television, people were shown spraying cocoa plants in Cote d'Ivoire wearing no protection whatsoever; many were underage.

'Like your body is burning'

But he started worrying the product was having a negative impact on his health.


Read more on RFI English

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