Egyptian farmers are making use of an Israeli-made agricultural chemical, illegally smuggled across the border with Israel, to boost their fruit and vegetable yields, despite its potential to cause cancer in humans.
The chemical is being used in the production of various crops, including tomatoes, eggplants, cantaloupe, cucumbers, watermelon, peaches and grapes, and is being smuggled into Egypt through Gaza’s secret tunnels.
Salem, one of the famers in the Salihiya Gadida district said that farmers in the region consider the chemical to be a “magic formula” for the production of higher yields and heavier fruits and vegetables.
However, Amar, another farmer, said the chemical is hazardous to the health of consumers but that farmers continue to use it because it raises the tomato yield from 500 crates to 1500 crates per acre.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the chemical formula is internationally banned as it contains the carcinogenic “acetochlor”. The WHO says that in addition to being carcinogenic, acetochlor leads to hormonal disturbances that affect the reproductive health of humans.
Translated from the Arabic Edition