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Apr 20, 2017

A Strategic Plan is Rolled Out for Pesticide Use

The Pesticides Control Board launched their 2017-2021 strategic plan developed in partnership with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, with support from the U.N.D.P. and the D.O.E. The plan is to help the Board reach a higher level as a modern, more effective organization that delivers quality services and provides adequate coverage to the agri-food sector, and other sectors involved in pesticide use. Andrea Polanco attended today’s launch and has this report.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Pesticides Control Board launched a five year strategy to increase the responsible use and management of pesticides to protect human health and the environment. Since its inception in the late 1980’S the Pesticides Control Board, pest management has evolved significantly, this has pushed the Board to develop a policy that will cover areas such as governance and regulation.

 

Francisco Gutierrez, Acting Chairman, Pesticides Control Board

Francisco Gutierrez

“What this plan will do is to fine tune cooperation and boost technical capacity so that the work continues but in a more meaningful way; in a safer manner so that consumers can be assured that pesticides being used are used appropriately and that there is no abuse and that the environment is safe and that we can still comply with import requirements from our trading partners because globally the world is changing and there is a lot more concern about pesticide residues, contaminants, food safety and so the use of pesticides has a bearing on that. So, yes, I can say that this will positively impact farmers, consumers and the environment.”

 

Miriam Ochaeta-Serrut

Miriam Ochaeta-Serrut, Registrar of Pesticides, Pesticides Control Board

“Pest management is something that does not remain the same over the years and there is a lot of development, new technologies, etc. But more than that, as an institution it was becoming extremely necessary to have a strategic plan to indicate as a road map on how we can best partner with other institutions to better deliver on our own mandate.”

 

The primary function of the pesticides control board is to regulate pesticides in Belize; fromagricultural to industrial, as well as domestic use pesticides such as aerosols and mosquito coils. But there are still challenges with its use and it is hoped that this plan will help to change that.

 

Francisco Gutierrez

“Many of our farmers and users of pesticides are not fully cognizant of potential problems associated with the use of pesticides. Like with any technology, it can be used safely or dangerously. And pesticides is same. Despite the huge efforts of the PCB educational outreach or programme extension, there is still mismanagement; there are still people wrongly disposing of pesticides or abusing the use of pesticides; not respecting intervals; dosages; etc and hence, that is perhaps one of the biggest challenges at the moment.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So you would say that this plan would help to better monitor and evaluate some of the uses and management of pesticides?”

Francisco Gutierrez

“Yes. The component on technical capacity is geared at solving these problems or to continue with the work that has been carried out for many years.”

 

While no major changes are expected in the first two years, this new plan seeks to make changes to initiatives that are already in the pipeline like the programme for certification of users of restricted pesticides.

 

Miriam Ochaeta-Serrut

“We expect that towards the end of the first year we will be ready to transition to a strengthened program for certification of users of restricted use pesticides. Those are pesticides that are classified globally as highly hazardous pesticides that they present more risk to the user. Currently to be certified as a user of a restricted use pesticide a person is attending a session in one day with a few hours and we have five modules to deliver.  We have sessions that we have to cover by law that says by regulation all that we need to cover to certify a person. So, we are strengthening that programme so that persons attend a series of training sessions and will only advance to the second module after having successfully passed the first module.”

 

Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.

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