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From Circle of Poison to Circle of Virtue: Pesticides, Export Standards and Kenya's Green Bean Farmers


  • Julius J. Okello
  • Scott M. Swinton


In response to growing consumer concerns, developed-country governments have reduced permissible pesticide residue levels in food. Many food retailers have developed even more stringent private food safety protocols relating to pesticide use, storage and disposal and passed them on to their suppliers. Exporters in developing countries enforce these developed-country pesticide standards (DC-PS) by subjecting farmers to close monitoring. This study explores the effects of enforcing compliance with DC-PS on smallholder farmers' pesticide-related health costs. Results suggest that enforcing DC-PS encourages farmers to use protection that lowers pesticide-induced morbidity, hence reducing farmers' health costs from pesticide exposure. The study concludes that there are health benefits to family farmers from complying with DC-PS beyond the acknowledged income generation from selling fresh produce in premium export markets. Copyright (c) 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2009 The Agricultural Economics Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Julius J. Okello & Scott M. Swinton, 2010. "From Circle of Poison to Circle of Virtue: Pesticides, Export Standards and Kenya's Green Bean Farmers," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 209-224.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:61:y:2010:i:2:p:209-224

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Maumbe, Blessing M. & Swinton, Scott M., 2003. "Hidden health costs of pesticide use in Zimbabwe's smallholder cotton growers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1559-1571, November.
    9. World Bank, 2005. "Food Safety and Agricultural Health Standards : Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Country Exports," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8491, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schreinemachers, Pepijn & Tipraqsa, Prasnee, 2012. "Agricultural pesticides and land use intensification in high, middle and low income countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 616-626.
    2. Minor, Travis & Parrett, Matt, 2017. "The economic impact of the Food and Drug Administration’s Final Juice HACCP Rule," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 206-213.
    3. Otieno, Zipora & Okello, Julius J. & Nyikal, Rose & Mwang'ombe, Agnes & Clavel, Daniele, 2011. "The role of varietal traits in the adoption of improved dryland crop varieties: The case of pigeon pea in Kenya," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(2), September.
    4. Pepijn Schreinemachers & Iven Schad & Prasnee Tipraqsa & Pakakrong Williams & Andreas Neef & Suthathip Riwthong & Walaya Sangchan & Christian Grovermann, 2012. "Can public GAP standards reduce agricultural pesticide use? The case of fruit and vegetable farming in northern Thailand," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 29(4), pages 519-529, December.
    5. Lagerkvist, Carl Johan & Hess, Sebastian & Okello, Julius & Hansson, Helena & Karanja, Nancy, 2013. "Food health risk perceptions among consumers, farmers, and traders of leafy vegetables in Nairobi," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 92-104.
    6. Ngigi, Marther W. & Okello, Julius Juma & Lagerkvist, Carl Johan & Karanja, Nancy & Mburu, John G., 2010. "Assessment of developing-country urban consumers’ willingness to pay for quality of leafy vegetables: The case of middle and high income consumers in Nairobi, Kenya," 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa 96191, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE);Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA).
    7. Johann, Kirsten & Mapila, Mariam & Okello, Julius J. & De, Sourovi, 2013. "Managing Agricultural Commercialization for Inclusive Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 206518, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.

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