Tanzania has installed nearly 40 auxiliary testing laboratories at the country’s border entries, international air terminals and seaports.
That is done in efforts to protect the country from infiltration of harmful chemicals through imported insecticides and pesticides.
The Arusha-based Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority the country is the agency behind the project to establish mini laboratories to analyze samples and filter all consignments of pesticides being imported in the country.
The Acting Director of the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority Professor Joseph Ndunguru explained that the TPHPA was installing the laboratories on the borders to address recent cases of infiltration of pesticides, herbicides and other consumable chemicals into the country, some being harmful.
“We have set up the mini laboratories on all the 37 marine and surface border points where Tanzania borders with eight countries as well as at the international airports,” Professor Ndunguru added.
Speaking in Arusha during the United Nations International Day of Plant Health, the Director said at the moment they were mobilizing facilities to equip the new auxiliary laboratories around the country, in the ambitious project.
He said in the bid to reinforce the TPHPA Analytical Laboratories Section, the authority has procured seven motor vehicles, 19 motorcycles, 20 aerial drones, 38 desktop computers, portable special analytical machines and 51 digital tablets to ensure all areas are fully covered.
On his part the Principal Researcher Officer, Eliningaya Kweka said the main aim of border inspection for pesticides being brought into the country for either commercial basis or aid, should not be toxic and harmful to crops, plants and farm harvests since the country was striving to be food sufficient.
“The laboratories will also analyse all pesticides being exported out of Tanzania to ensure that they are safe to the environment as well,” Kweka maintained.
During the authorities recent inspections in 18 regions the TPHPA went through 1016 outlets, with 948 of the shops found to sell certified pesticides which is equivalent to 93 percent of the total outlets.
Apparently, only about 7.0 percent of the outlets were found to store harmful products, mostly the insecticides used domestically to kill mosquitoes and cockroaches.
The TPHPA, which is the national Authority for regulation of Plant Health and Pesticides matters, deals with a number of issues including conducting pesticides formulation and residue analysis and taking environmental samples for residue analysis according to good laboratory practices.
The authority also works to produce quality analytical reports including certificates of analysis as well as handling pesticides complaints related to quality verifications and plan for intervention.