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Free app launched to help reduce pesticide use

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The Fairtrade Foundation has joined a coalition of organisations to launch a new app designed to help producers reduce their use of toxic pesticides.

Fairtrade, along with a coalition of certification schemes promoting safer pest control, have announced the launch of Pesticides and Alternatives, an app which brings a wealth of scientific knowledge directly to the phones of farmers and plantation managers in developing countries so they can identify the least toxic pest control methods for their crop and typical pests. It contains information on non-chemical pest control alternatives from agricultural knowledge resource, CABI, for 2,700 pests and diseases. Farmers can also search for and get to know the pesticide restrictions of nine certification systems – including Fairtrade – for more than 700 pesticide active ingredients.

As part of its initial release, the app also contains toxicity information related to all registered pesticides for relevant crop and pest species for Mexico and India, as well as by crop for Brazil, Colombia and Kenya. The toxicity information comes from government authorities, international agreements and/or academic institutions.

Catherine Thompson, Head of Innovation at the Fairtrade Foundation, commented: “Fairtrade are committed to supporting producers to make their production as sustainable as possible. Producers living and working across the world can struggle to access information about the toxicity of highly hazardous pesticides, and the impact they can have on the environment and biodiversity.

“This new app is designed to support producers to reduce the use of pesticides within and beyond Fairtrade’s standards, enabling pest control with less negative environmental and human impact, which is very welcome.”

The development of the app was possible thanks to the ISEAL Innovations Fund, the scientific support of the Oregon State University’s Integrated Plant Protection Center (OSU-IPPC), and the collaboration of the IPM Coalition members, Better Cotton Initiative, Bonsucro, Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, GEO Foundation, Global Coffee Platform, Rainforest Alliance, Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN).

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