On Wednesday we told you about the seminar titled “training for trainers” that the Pesticides Control Board was carrying out for ten field officers of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Three days of intense training culminated today as participants applied the knowledge and techniques they learnt during an evaluation phase which at the end indicated to the instructors if those trained were ready to disseminate the information to other farmers. As each participant received their certificate of completion today, we sat down with Selvin Molina of the Pesticide Control Board who outlined the importance of the workshop and the proper way to use pesticides.

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“About two of them have already presented doing very excellent jobs, applying the technique, applying the knowledge they have been thought so that give us a good heart to go.”

Irvin Aragon – Reporter

“These people will be training farmers, why do farmers across the country need to know about the use of pesticides?”

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“Farmers have the tendency of having to use pesticides because it is being utilized as a weapon, because they have enemies within their fields which are the pest fighting with the crops so therefore one of the tools that they use is pesticides and so they need to be trained on the use of it.”

Irvin Aragon – Reporter

“If it is the tools that they would use to fight these pests, then why control pesticides?”

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“It is because of its very same reason we consider it to be a very dangerous weapon and it is s mixture of substances or chemicals that is use wrongly they can cause damage to living things and we as humans we are living things and they can be fatal if not used properly.”

According to Molina, all pesticides sold in Belize and the Caribbean is tagged with color bands indicating their level of toxicity. The colors range from red, being the most toxic, to green being the least toxic. In between, we have the color yellow, which indicates a moderately toxic pesticide and blue which means the chemical is low in toxic. But these colors have nothing with the effectiveness of the chemical. Instead they are indicators of the level of precaution that one needs to take when applying it to the field.

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“Having an option of using any of the pesticides, like if we would have an option to being able to work with the pesticides it is a green colour band that would be the one that we would mostly recommend because it is safer for humans.  The colour bands are there to indicate how toxic this can be to us the users it does not have to do anything on how effective they are in controlling pests.  Sometimes farmers have that mistake they believe that if they choose a red colour band they are using the best on to control pests which does not necessary have to be so, if you have chosen the right pesticide it could be a green colour band and it could be as effective.  Is that we are yet involve with the Pesticide Control Board, where we are involved with the training of farmers because of the negative effects of pesticides.  We know it is a tool when used properly it can definitely help the farmers a lot but it also have a lot of negative consequences and therefore it is one of the things that we do strongly here at the Pesticides Control Board in teaching people how to properly manage pesticides because of a lot of negative effect on it to.”

Irvin Aragon – Reporter

“You have mentioned the negative effects that it can cause, do you have any knowledge of any particular farmer or farmers that have suffered some problem due to the improper use of the pesticide?”

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“If we go back to history you know and I believe why the government started the pesticide Control Board is because we are an exporting community of agricultural commodities and markets out there they demand safe products and that is one of the reasons we also have cases of accidental poisoning which we believe that by proper training we can solve those problems.”

As you may already know, pesticides can cause severe health conditions if they are not used properly.

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“Pesticides are contaminants that is what I always tell my farmers from the time we put a drop of pesticides on a sprayer and we spray it we are not putting something friendly to the environment we are putting something that contaminates therefore we should use it only when need it because of the contamination, this can contaminate soil, water and air so it is a contaminant if use or if abused.”

Therefore, many companies around the world include different additives to the formulation of the pesticide to   create a certain level of warning for farmers.

Selvin Molina, Pesticides Control Board

“The companies that makes pesticides, may people put those types of substances within a chemical even though the formulation may not come with a scent itself, the active ingredient to it, they add what you refer to as additives to the chemical. For example one of them is what we call the stenches, bad odours and those are there to warn and to let people know you are entering an area where it is being sprayed and you are entering an environment where if you keep there it could be an areas where it is contaminated with pesticides, it is like a warning, other things that companies use is colours that would discourage people from drinking it because it have a very ugly colour and some of them could be bitter so for people as long as they get in the mouth it something that hasn’t a nice taste.”

Farmers are reminded to exercise extreme caution when using these pesticides in their fields.

CTV3