ACCRA - This investigation puts the spotlight on the use of banned pesticides from Europe in rubber farms in Ghana and other regions across the world, while European development banks, the main funder of such projects turn a blind eye to the environmental, health and safety concerns.

The report shows that Ghana Real Estate Limited (GREL), a technical advisor on a Rubber Outgrower Plantation Project (ROPP) dating as far back as 1995 supplied paraquat, banned in Europe since 2007 to rubber outgrower farmers in the Wassa East district of Ghana putting their health and environment at risk.

The team uncovered that funding from a French public development bank called Agence Francaise de Development as part of the rubber plantation project, designed to assist small farmers in rural areas of Ghana had already reached over 9,000 farmers many of whom received the toxic pesticide.

“There is a certain hypocrisy in the EU: we ban pesticides to protect the health of European citizens and our environment, but we support their use abroad by funding development projects or by exporting our chemical industries,” said Martin Dermine, director of Pesticides Action Network, a U.K-based charity focused on targeting issues surrounding pesticides. 

The report also shows that there are no international laws that can outrightly ban the use of pesticides. “Unfortunately, there are no international laws that allow for global bans on pesticides,” said Dermine. “Worse, when the European Union tries to ban new pesticides on its territory, many states try to dissuade it via WTO rules.”

The team of investigators from iWatchAfrica, Lighthouse Reports, Mediapart, Nederlands Dagblad, De Groene, El Surti spoke to rubber farmers in Ghana, environmental experts, civil society representatives, bank officials, and the academia to understand what is at stake, and how pesticides banned in Europe end up in rubber farms outside Europe with funding from European development banks.

Team members

Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a journalist and policy analyst in Ghana.

Gideon Sarpong

Jennifer Ugwa

Jennifer Ugwa is a freelance investigative reporter and storyteller, based in Abuja, Nigeria.

Jennifer Ugwa

Naipanoi Lepapa

Naipanoi Lepapa is a freelance investigative and feature journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Naipanoi Lepapa

Leslie Olonyi Bosire

Leslie Olonyi Bosire is an Environment and Natural resources Lawyer from Nairobi, Kenya.

Leslie Olonyi Bosire
€31.300 granted on 09/02/2023

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