BERLIN/NAIROBI - Why and how dangerous pesticide products produced in the EU — and Germany in particular — are continued to be sold in other countries? The investigation looks at how agrochemical companies try to maintain an unregulated pesticide market, despite tightening regulations in Europe. 

Pesticides are some of the most dangerous substances for sale. Yet they are easily available and are used widely, for example by small scale farmers in Kenya.

The big agrochemical companies, such as Bayer, are very much interested that it stays this way. They invest millions of dollars to develop a product. As the regulations in Europe are getting tighter and tighter, they also invest millions of dollars to influence politics and lobby their interests.

Last year, the German green party proclaimed that it wanted to block harmful pesticides that are not allowed for sale in Germany from being produced and then exported. Since then, their drafts for a regulation have been watered down, and somehow the process has been brought to a standstill, as ministries under the liberal, market friendly party are dragging the consultation process.

Meanwhile, products including active ingredients that are no longer allowed in Germany are still produced, for example by the company Bayer, and exported, for example to Kenya.

One of those products is Thunder. It contains the active ingredient imidacloprid which is highly toxic to bees and widely used by small scale farmers in Kenya, often with no oversight and no protective measures. Grass root activists are fighting for these products to be banned. But they have no chance against a powerful global lobby.

Photo credit: Dennis Mavingo

Team members

Birte Mensing

Birte Mensing is a freelance multimedia-journalist based in Nairobi.

Birte Mensing

Paul Hildebrandt

Paul Hildebrandt is a freelance journalist, based in Berlin.

Paul Hildebrandt
€11.000, allocated on 09/02/2022


  • Gift Zu Verkaufen, Greenpeace magazine Germany, December 2023 issue, pp. 56-63



  • Germany
  • Kenya

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