UNEP Hosts Fumigation Training to Assist with Methyl Bromide Phase-Out in Africa

UNEP10 October 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) convened phosphine fumigation training in Douala, Cameroon, from 8-10 October 2012. The training aimed to demonstrate available methyl bromide alternatives for the management of stored grain pests, and analyzed the application, efficacy, cost, availability, global warming potential, registration, phytotoxicity, and corrosiveness of alternatives.

According to UNEP, several African countries have committed to accelerate methyl bromide phase-out ahead of the January 2015 deadline under the Montreal Protocol for Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). UNEP is providing assistance to countries in identifying suitable, sustainable long-term alternatives.

UNEP underscores that phosphine gas is considered an economically viable and available option, and the training focused on its correct application. Participants highlighted key challenges associated with the use of phosphine, including lack of suitable infrastructure for effective phosphine fumigation, and the existence of porous borders in Cameroon, resulting in lack of enforcement of regulations on quality control. Participants also underscored the need to develop other sustainable alternatives for post-harvest due to insect resistance to phosphine fumigation, as well as its high operational costs. [UNEP OzonAction Press Release]