On Wednesday, 31 May the GEF/UNDP Ridge to Reef Project demonstrated its commitment towards providing sustainable livelihood opportunities, for farmers in particular, by collaborating with the Pest Management Unit to implement a pest control and safety management training at the Mirabeau Farm School.
The 1-day session, which is the first of 2 training sessions, was facilitated by staff within the Pest Management Unit — biologist John Telesford, Peter Joseph, and Thaddeus Peters, Acting Chief Pest Unit Officer. The training enhanced the approaches taken by pesticide users and was delivered to a group of 12 participants (10 males and 2 females), including farmers and extension officers within the Ministry of Agriculture.
During the first presentation, participants benefited from knowledge on the importance of ensuring that there is a correct diagnosis of the problem. This, according to Telesford, helps to ensure that the wrong pesticides are not being sprayed on the crops, avoiding wastage of pesticides, and most importantly, ensuring that the correct problem is treated.
There were also several discussions and tips directed at helping farmers to identify the possible pests affecting the crops being produced, including instructions based on bite marks seen on affected produce. To enhance this presentation, the facilitators used samples of affected crops and other demonstrative aids, including chemical bottles and spray cans.
Throughout the presentation, emphasis was placed on the importance of properly storing pesticides and other chemicals. Some of the advice given included encouraging farmers to store pesticides in containers that are properly labelled, to avoid transferring chemicals from their original bottles to smaller cans, to store pesticides far away from animal feeds, and to store filters separately from masks when not in use, to avoid contaminating clothing.
As the session came to an end, Peters noted that “pesticide mixture and application pose a greater risk to human safety. For this reason, all pesticide handlers should implement best managing practices when handling.”
As preparations are being made for the 2nd training session, the Pest Management Unit and Ridge to Reef Project continue to highlight the importance of general good agricultural practices that focus on security for workers, food safety, animal welfare and the environment.
GEF/UNDP Ridge to Reef Project