A new report issued by the United Nations (UN) takes a controversial stance on synthetic pesticides. The conventional wisdom is that they are essential to feed the world’s growing population, which is expected to hit nine billion by 2050. But the report’s authors call our reliance on synthetic pesticides “a short-term solution that undermines the right to adequate food and health for present and future generations.” They are right.
As a scientist from Nigeria whose work focuses on controlling post-harvest losses, I have seen first-hand what happens when the use of synthetic pesticides is not properly regulated. Yet much of the world is still following the conventional wisdom, with dire consequences for public health.