The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is urging farmers not to overuse pesticides on crops during pest outbreaks.
“I want to remind farmers that they are to be guided by the recommendations on the labels,” Senior Plant Health & Food Safety Specialist, Francine Webb, told JIS News.
She said that excessive use of chemicals can lead to the consumers, fieldworkers and others in close proximity becoming ill.
Ms. Webb said the warning is timely, given the recent beet army worm (BAW) outbreak, which has been pushing many farmers to misuse chemicals in a bid to get rid of the pests.
“If the manufacturer’s recommendations are not adhered to, too little or too much will lead to induced resistance in the (pest) population, which can cause insects like the BAW to stand up to the chemical,” she mentioned.
She further said that when the pest resists the chemical, the farmers sometimes double up on the dosage, or mix several chemicals, which is dangerous.
Ms. Webb also urged farmers to use the proper gear and equipment to spray chemicals on their farms.
She noted that failure to follow the safety instructions on the label could lead to fieldworkers inhaling noxious fumes, especially if they do not wear appropriate masks.
“They (farmers) must also be mindful of the pre-harvest interval, which is the time from the last spraying to when the food can safely be harvested for consumption, so that we don’t encounter any food-safety issues,” she said.
Ms. Webb also pointed out that excessive use of pesticides will affect the environment.