In addressing the nation to commemorate the launch of Pesticide Awareness Week 2018, Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, said that the safety and well-being of the consumer is the government’s utmost responsibility and goal.
“In our quest to achieve food and nutrition security, one area of concern that is often raised around the world is the use and presence of pesticides along the food value chain,” he stated.
He said that the term pesticide covers a wide range of compounds including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, plant growth regulators and others which are lethal to the targeted pests but may also be harmful to humans.
The minister noted that although pesticides have their benefits including the enhanced economic potential and the amelioration of vector-borne diseases, the misuse may result in serious implications to humans and other life forms and their environment.
“There is now overwhelming evidence that some of these chemicals do pose potential risk to humans and other life forms and also unwanted damage to the environment,” he said.
He said that the government is committed to ensuring that adequate support is given to issues relating to pesticide availability and its use by various stakeholders.
“We will continue to educate our communities through various public and private entities in health, agriculture and commerce on the adequate use of pesticides,” he noted.
Minister Hamilton expressed that significant steps have been taken to address food safety with respect to pesticides through partnership between the Governments of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the establishment of a Soil Fertility Analysis and Pesticides Residue Detection Lab. This is the first lab of its kind in the region.
“As a result, our soils are tested, the food is tested, and farmers, once they pass the pesticide residue test, receive a license that can be shown to their customers, certifying that their produce are safe for consumption by humans,” he said.