Farmers use pesticides to destroy harmful organisms that attack their crops, but those pesticides also pose health risks to humans. As an initiative to increase food safety for the local and export market, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries partnered with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the Pesticides Control Board and the Republic of China and Taiwan Technical Mission to hold a seminar on pesticides residue screening for fruits and vegetables. On Tuesday, farmers from across the country as well as representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations discussed the importance of pesticide screening as an in integral part of proper agricultural practices.
Gabino Canto: C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries
“As the world population increases there is a demand for large volumes of food and at the same time there will be increases in the use of pesticide to ensure that whatever crops are planted produces enough food for the population. Therefore, it is very important that we control the use of pesticides in whatever form and shape in the production of food because this becomes a health hazard whenever it is overused.”
Ambassador David Wu: Republic of China and Taiwan
“This project use of rapid bio-acid techniques to screen fruits and vegetables for pesticides residues, to test the produce prior to harvesting come into being. It tries to avoid products with pesticides from entering the market, the result of the products tested were used to determine whether to harvest or to refrain from harvesting. We realize that if the local farmers want to supply safe food for Belizean consumers and trade clients, it’s important for them to have good agriculture practices and to upgrade their produce quality.”
Works for the project started over a year and a half ago with an inspection laboratory which was installed at Central Farm. To complement the program, three local personnel were trained as a part of the project and a series of workshops were completed in April of this year.