Government is moving to restrict the sale of pesticides to the general public, while farmers will have to follow established protocols in order to obtain the substance for use on their farms.
This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, as he engaged the media following the launch of the Ministry’s Pesticides Control Management Scheme at the River Plantation in St. Philip, recently.
Minister Weir said Barbados was now signatory to the Rotterdam Convention, which gave the country a voice at international conferences to deal with the whole issue of pesticides, disposal containers and pesticide residue.
Being signatory to the Convention, he explained, meant that the Ministry of Agriculture now had to make significant changes in a number of areas, including educating those in the industry about the dangers of pesticides and their correct use.
“So, we are definitely going to be restricting the sale of pesticides to the general public. And then there’ll be a protocol in place for farmers to be able to have access to pesticides,” he said.
He explained that would mean “not just anyone can walk into a hardware store or farm shop and purchase pesticides”.
Rather, protocols are now being established to require persons to have a licence, or some authorisation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Environmental Protection Department before being allowed to purchase the pesticides.
The Minister noted that he had personally interacted with a farmer whose skin was damaged from using pesticides over the years without the proper gear.
“We don’t know how many people have been using pesticides indiscriminately. But what we do know is that we have to stop the practice, and make sure that we provide enough education for people to understand the importance of the proper use and disposal,” the Minister pointed out.
Such educational programmes, he noted, would involve farmers and the general public understanding the importance of using pesticides correctly with protective gear, and the proper disposal of the containers following their use.
“This is the beginning of several of these types of initiatives that will help our farmers, first of all, to understand the importance of disposal of containers, and the administration as well of pesticides to plants.
“Then it will help Barbadians, because our intention is to also do a management programme on the sale of pesticides, given the fact that anybody can walk in hardware stores or feed shops, or a farm shop and purchase pesticides, and because of the dangers,” Mr. Weir stated.