Saturday, July 05, 2008


If this report is to be believed, enlightened Europeans are refusing to buy Ugandan cotton not because it's contaminated but rather because Ugandans dared to use DDT indoors, well away from any fields of cotton:
Over 11,000 farmers in Apac and Oyam districts of Uganda are now stuck with cotton after it was rejected by buyers from the Dutch firm BoWeevil due to DDT spraying in the area.

Marck Van Esch, the managing director of BoWeevil, told local press, “DDT is a problem in any food commodity to the Western world. There is a zero tolerance there for DDT products,” he said. BoWeevil promotes and certifies organic cotton through agricultural projects in places like Turkey and Uganda where its Ugandan organic cotton is certified by Ecocert International and complies with the stringent NOP certification so it can exported to the USA.

Government officials started DDT spraying in the Oyam and Apac districts of Uganda in April, but were recently halted by the Kampala High Court after a petition, filed by nine groups of produce farmers, traders and conservationists. Van Esch said if the Ministry of Health continues spraying DDT where they have their programmes, they will close down their businesses and industries. “Many export commodities will not be able to find Western markets any more. The consequences will be enormous and disastrous,” he told All Africa. “Although we think that there are better alternatives than DDT. Eventually more people will die of poverty.
So, if Ugandans want to reduce malaria's death toll they better not use DDT. This prohibition is directly attributable to the environmental movement's patron saint, Rachel Carson:
The use of the DDT has been highly controversial ever since Rachel Carson published her seminal book ‘Silent Spring’ in 1962, which catalogued the environmental impacts of the indiscriminate spraying of DDT in the USA.
Self-proclaimed DDT expert Tim Lambert was wrong, of course, to claim Europeans did not threaten trade sanctions against DDT users.

Update: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking. So far, only one source is reporting this story; it will be interesting to see how it develops. Are Ugandans being punished for daring to use DDT to save their own lives or is the cotton perhaps contaminated and, if so, what is the level of contamination and exactly how did a chemical sprayed in minute quantities and only indoors escape into the environment in large enough quantity to contaminate the cotton?

It is worth noting that the use of DDT was recently temporarily halted as of result of court action taken by cotton farmers, cotton buyers and environmentalists, who warned that crops might be contaminated. Being somewhat cynical, it immediately sprang to mind that slipping a small quantity of DDT into the cotton crop would be a good way to deter Africans using the dreaded chemical.

Update II: Seriously strange Ed Darrell, a Lambert acolyte and fellow educator, completely loses the plot in a post attacking me and Glenn Beck (aka Glenn Reynolds) for linking to me:
Instapundit screws up again (Uganda, cotton, DDT)

Instapundit loves to roil waters, but he’s low on content, and everytime I see it, low on accuracy, too.

This is the entirety of Glenn Beck’s post linking to the rabidly anti-Rachel Carson, RWDB with a rant about DDT that lacks several key points of accuracy:
THE HIGH COST OF fighting malaria.
Six words and he’s wrong already. That’s quite a skill to be dead wrong in six words.

Our friend, the other Beck, at RWDB, has a news report from Uganda, and rather than note it and check for accuracy, he uses it as a tee for numerous shots and mulligans against science, scientists, environmentalists, health care workers, the EU, and anyone else who inhabited his latest delerium.
The over 700-word post concluding:
What’s the real story?

Neither Beck seems to care. They get a dig at environmentalists, so what if Ugandans get malaria?
Darrell seems to have missed the start of the post where I note my doubts about the story: "If this report is to be believed..." I do not attack science, scientists, health care workers, the EU or environmentalists and merely reproduced the Carson comment from the original source.

It appears Darrell is doing some extended heavy duty celebrating over this 4th of July weekend.

Update III: New developments here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having lived and taught in Tanzania for many years, I am often amazed when someone suggests that nets are an effective way to combat malaria. I used nets while sleeping and still came down with malaria at least once a year. Nets are only good for keeping some of the larger, noisier bugs off of you.

Cheaper than DDT and last 10 times longer - HA! Some environmentalists have developed quite a "let them eat cake" attitude.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm with that last poster. I live and work in Southern Sudan and east Africa (many years now). Malaria is a constant (it nearly killed me!) and nets or no, you're going to get it. if you're poor (as the majority are) you're either going to have to use traditional remedies, power through it, or perish.

It will slap anyone into reality on DDT if you have to deal with someone who loses a child or elderly family member to something as easily manageable as malaria.

It's freaking shameful that the sanctimonious finger-waggers half a world away dictate policy for these folks here. I'm all in favor of the liberal, unhindered, and wide-open use of DDT throughout the developing world.

Let the market decide what people will tolerate on DDT. Knowing what I know now, i'd actually pay a premium for it.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous rog said...

The european body rejecting DDT cotton is known as Eurepgap

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce, you're with the wrong company there;

8:53 PM  

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