The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations has claimed
that around 30% of pesticides marketed in developing countries - with an estimated market value of US$900m annually - do not meet internationally accepted quality standards.

In a report, it and the World Health Organisation have claimed: "They are posing a serious threat to human health and the environment." Said Gero Vaagt, of the FAO Pesticide Management Group: "These poor-quality pesticides frequently contain hazardous substances and impurities that have already been banned or severely restricted elsewhere."

When the quality of labelling and packaging is also taken into account, the proportion of poor-quality pesticide products in developing countries could be even higher, warned the two UN agencies

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent