JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the fertiliser imported from the United States, was safe for use on crops, including leafy vegetables.
“This particular organic base fertiliser imported into Jamaica has been tested by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is certified to be of exceptional quality and to be free of pathogen, and safe for use on crops including leafy vegetables. It can be used in a similar manner to commercial fertilisers. It can be used on playgrounds, parks, golf courses, lawns, hospital grounds or other unrestrictive access areas, in the same manner as any other commercial fertiliser. It can be sold in bulk or bagged form to anyone in the general public,” he stated.
He was responding to questions from Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, Roger Clarke, in the House of Representatives yesterday (March 3), about the safety of the fertiliser.
According to Dr. Tufton, the fertiliser has an organic base, which acts as a filler for the active inorganic ingredients. The source of the organic compound, he said, was activated bio-solids, which are solids, semi solids or liquid materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sludge. He indicated that human excreta was a component of the bio-solids contained in the fertiliser.
Asked whether any analysis has been done to guarantee the safety of the fertiliser so as to ascertain that it is free of ecoli, salmonella, hepatitis, among other diseases, Dr. Tufton told the House, that the organic base filler for the fertiliser has been regularly tested.
“The EPA requires sampling and analytical frequency, varying from one to 12 times per year, depending on the amount of bio solids handled by the processors. The organic product or bio solids used in the fertiliser manufactured for Jamaica was treated to a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and is certified pathogen free,” he informed.
Quoting from an EPA expert, Dr. Tufton also informed the House of Representatives that the “potential for ground or surface water contamination from this product is no different from the pollution related to the use of other inorganic blends or soil ameliorants such as animal manure. As a result, no special precaution needs to be taken to protect water resources as a result of its use.”
The Minister told the House that the process for importing the next tranche of fertiliser will be done through a selective tendering process and Diamond R Fertiliser Company of the United States, would be invited to bid.

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