In the 1980’s, as more Kenyan farmers moved to using crop protection products as part of their growing practices, a clear need emerged for safe use training to ensure these farmers used their products safely and responsibly. In 1991, CropLife International launched its first Responsible Use Pilot Projects.
In Kenya, an initial phase focused on “training trainers” in order to build a sustainable local base of knowledge and enable large numbers to be trained in safe use quickly. The project evolved over time and expanded, initiating the use of innovative methodologies to reach multiple stakeholders. A radio broadcast, “Using Chemicals Safely”, reached thousands of listeners and became one of the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation’s most popular shows. Textbooks, drama, and song played an important role in rural schools as the importance of educating youngsters was established. This was complemented by further training of farmers and retailers, helping many reach the standards set to meet Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standards, an important certification for exporters.
The success of the Kenya pilot project has led to the training of more ‘master trainers’ who are now involved in training activities in several countries in the Africa and Middle East region. Partnerships have been formed in several countries, including with IFDC, the United States Agency for International Development, GTZ, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization and Belgian Technical Cooperation to carry out these projects.