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The need to harmonize the registration of pesticides throughout the region will be high on the agenda later this year for the Co-ordinating Group of Pesticides Control Boards.
The Group, which is an amalgamation of regional pesticide Boards, has been lobbying for the past two years to improve the management of pesticides across the Caribbean and will make its case to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).
Progress was made last year when the Council endorsed the strategy document to improve the management of pesticides in the region.
“We are sending a message that registration is key to preventing harmful pesticides in the region and one that will facilitate inter and extra regional trade as well as protect health,” member of the Co-ordinating Group and Registrar of the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA), Hyacinth Chin Sue, said at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’.
She said it was important to have COTED agree on the process, in light of the move towards a CARICOM Single Market (CSM).
“The chemicals that are used in the other islands will definitely affect the type of residue that ends up on the food that we import from them. Also, if you want free trade within the region, you would want to know that there are good practices in the rest of the islands,” the Registrar explained.
She pointed out that currently, some of the islands in the region did not have any proper monitoring or registration system in place, and cited the case of Antigua, where the relevant authority was aware of what pesticides are being used, but there was no formal registration system.
Further highlighting the need for such a policy, the Registrar made reference to the situation with the European Union (EU), where there was a regional registration system in place.
“They know what they are using in their region and know what their system is and as such, are facilitating trade among countries within their Union. This will reduce the amount of trade with countries like us,” she posited.
“There are also poor countries that have joined the EU and that bloc would be more interested in building up the capacity of those countries, rather than former colonies like us,” Mrs. Chin Sue continued.
She also informed that it would become more difficult for Caribbean nation states to meet the EU standards. “We are making all attempts to meet the standards and yes, there are some things that they can get from us but among themselves they can get a good variety of food,” the Registrar noted.
There are some 113 different active ingredients registered in Jamaica, which annually imports just over 2,500 tonnes of pesticides.