Pesticides in focus at Suriname meeting
June 17, 2019, Paramaribo, Suriname – The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) supported the convening of the recent 23rd Meeting of the Coordinating Group of Pesticides Control boards of the Caribbean (CGPC) held in Paramaribo, Suriname from June 10 – 12, 2019.
The Meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Suriname and was be followed immediately by the 4th Meeting of the Project Steering Committee of the project “Disposal of Obsolete pesticides including (POPS), Promotion of alternatives and Strengthening pesticides Management in the Caribbean”.
The project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is being implemented in the Caribbean by FAO and 11 beneficiary countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to FAO and GEF, other partner agencies include the Inter-American American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), the University of the West Indies (UWI), Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat and the Pesticides Action Network – United Kingdom (PAN-UK).
The main objective of the FAO-GEF project is to promote the sound management of pesticides in the Caribbean throughout their life cycle in ways that lead to the minimisation of significant adverse effects on human health and the global environment. Under the project, one the most significant and important achievement was the repackaging, safeguarding and exporting of 319 tonnes of obsolete pesticides and associated hazardous waste from participating countries for environmentally sound destruction in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Vyju Lopez, Plant Production and Protection Officer at FAO indicated that some of the priorities discussed at the meeting included the management of empty pesticide containers by farmers, industry and waste management agencies and training in the sampling methods for soils contaminated with pesticides.
Dr. Lopez also stated that, “alternatives to highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) in vegetable pest and disease management are being researched, with a view to promoting those alternatives along with other integrated pest management (IPM) practices, ultimately resulting in less exposure by humans and the environment to toxic chemicals and residues”.
Meanwhile, Mr Guy Mathurin, FAO’s Regional Project Coordinator, stressed that the reduction of exposure to hazardous pesticides and promoting a healthier environment continues to be an important objective of the CGPC. He stated that, “technology for the remediation of pesticides-contaminated soils using locally available materials is being also investigated”.
Mr Mathurin indicated that in helping to strengthen the pesticides regulatory framework in the Caribbean, the legislation of all participating countries was been reviewed and a draft model legislation is being developed.
In addition to the above-mentioned objectives, the meetings provided a forum for meaningful discussions on cost recovery analysis and recommendations as to how regulatory authorities can generate revenue from services offered and levy other sources to fund their work programmes. Equally important are plans for the development of a pesticides inspectors’ manual which will help regulatory authorities monitor pesticides life-cycle management practices and enforce pesticides legislation, thereby ensuring that human and environmental health in the Caribbean region are protected.