The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is seeking the assistance of key regulators in the United States, to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on pesticide options.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, explained that following on the work of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) committee, several pesticides have been evaluated and proven effective; however, they are not approved by the EPA.
He said the Ministry will be soliciting the support of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “as we make representation to the EPA for having other pesticide options, besides Botran, which is the only chemical approved to date”.
The FSMA committee was set up to develop a strategy to improve the capacity of farmers and fresh produce exporters to become compliant with the legislation, which is aimed at ensuring the safety of foods entering the North American country. The law requires that pesticides are used according to their EPA-approved label use.
Minister Clarke, who was speaking at the opening of a training programme in good agricultural practices at the Knutsford Court Hotel New Kingston, on February 18, also used the opportunity to request the continued support of the USDA and FDA in strengthening the country’s food safety capacity.
“You will recall that under Section 305 of the new FSMA, there is a regulation which speaks to ‘Building Food Safety Capacity of Foreign Governments’ and we wish to highlight to you that immediately, we are available for such assistance,” he stated.
The five-day course, implemented by the Ministry in collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), is being executed by the US-based Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN).
It aims to improve the competencies of officers of the Ministry and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), farmers, exporters, among other stakeholders.