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July 14, 2009

Methyl bromide use in agriculture reduced in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has reduced methyl bromide use in agriculture to 22 tonnes in 1998 from 557 tonnes in 2008, Natural Resources department director Irvine Kunene has said.

Zimbabwe is signatory to the Montreal Protocol that had made 2015 the deadline for phasing out ozone depleting substances.

Farmers used methyl bromide to fumigate tobacco and horticultural seedbeds, and grain silos.
Floating trays were replacing the chemicals on tobacco farms.

Tobacco Research Board head of crop production Ezekia Svotwa said the chemical should have been phased out by next season.

"Zimbabwe is poised to fulfil its Montreal Protocol obligation five years ahead of the deadline," Svotwa said.

Svotwa said Kutsaga Research Station in Harare was training farmers to use float trays.

Quality assurance manager Patience Mutukwa said the Grain Market Board was no longer fumigation grain with the chemical.

"We are now using ozone friendly Phospine," she said.

She said GMB had problems with purchasing equipment and training personnel using the new chemical.

Zimbabwe has phased out by 98 percent CFC-based refrigerants that the protocol would ban.

New Ziana

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