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USAID PROGRAMMATIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (PEA) FOR
Fumigation with the pesticide phosphine gas is a critical tool to assure protection of agricultural food commodities from waste and spoilage. It is also an intrinsically dangerous process: phosphine is deadly, flammable and corrosive. Failure to conduct fumigation properly poses serious risks to human health and of ineffective fumigation, posing both an immediate problem for commodity losses and contributing to phosphine pesticide resistance. In the worst case, resistance could lead to the loss of phosphine fumigation as an effective pest control.
In recognition of these risks and to develop clear guidance and tools, the USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance’s (DCHA) Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has undertaken a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for Phosphine Fumigation of Stored Agricultural Commodity (i.e., “Fumigation PEA”) under the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 22 for Foreign Relations, Chapter II, Part 216, Environmental Procedures (22 CFR 216).
The PEA was informed by expertise in stored-product entomology, fumigation, environmental impact and human health risk assessment, as well as extensive inter-institutional stakeholder consultation across the food aid commodity chain from procurement to beneficiary distribution. Specific stakeholders included US Department of Agriculture, US Private Voluntary Organizations, United Nations World Food Program, and US agricultural commodity shipping and supplier industries, as well as warehouse operators and fumigation service providers in several countries in Africa.
The Fumigation PEA establishes a clear approach for USAID Food for Peace and other USAID operating units (e.g., Regional and Functional Bureaus, field Missions) that plan to undertake phosphine fumigation in a warehouse setting. While the Fumigation PEA was developed for USAID FFP programs and with funding support from this unit, the findings are applicable to any phosphine gas fumigation of stored agricultural commodities implemented under USAID.
Key PEA Elements:
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