JIS News

The link between the sound use of chemicals and sustainable development, has been highlighted by Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings.
Addressing a public forum on the use of pesticides at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland on September 28, Mr. Cummings said developing countries need to consider the loss they suffer by having no management process in place to administer the use of chemicals.
The State Minister said the serious threat posed by the improper use of chemicals has to be viewed against the background of the globalised context within which the countries of the world operate, adding that trade would be seriously hampered if chemicals used on food was not properly managed.
He noted that banana, coffee and papaya producers could attest to the threat that the improper management of chemicals posed to these industries, and stressed that these concerns must be understood by the entire population in order for them to be properly addressed for the benefit of the producers and the nation as a whole.
Mr. Cummings pointed out that accidental poisoning in Jamaica resulting from the use of pesticides had increased from 171 cases in 2002 to 696 in 2004, and that 536 cases were reported in 2005. He said the decrease might have resulted from improved monitoring or the under reporting of cases.
The State Minister noted that 82 per cent of acute poison victims in Jamaica were children under five years old, and recommended that some cases of spontaneous abortion, still birth and low birth rate should be investigated to determine if there were linkages to chemical exposure.
Mr. Cummings congratulated the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) for organizing the forum, and emphasized that it represented the type of meaningful public participation that would be needed to ensure that the PCAs objectives are realized.
The forum was held as part of activities to observe Pesticides Awareness Week (September 25 to September 29).
Among those in attendance were representatives of a number of organizations, including the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Banana Export Company, the Jamaica Conservation Development Trust, CASE and the Portland Health Department.

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