The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has placed an immediate suspension on the importation of herbicides that contain the active ingredient glyphosate, following the landmark Roundup cancer trial verdict in San Francisco two weeks ago.
Acting on the advice of the Pesticides Board, the government said glyphosate is found in pesticides such as RoundUp, Touchdown, and Glyphos on the islands.
According to a statement on Friday, the import suspension could turn into a full import ban pending a technical review by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry, and Labour.
“A preliminary review was conducted by the Pesticides Board which revealed that further research is needed regarding these listed chemicals. In the interim, a special technical committee was established to advise on sustainable alternatives. This committee is expected to present its findings by October 1,” the statement noted.
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Meanwhile, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture have been requested to provide support to the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a full analysis of the products.
The Ministry is also scheduled to launch a national programme with stakeholders within the sector on pesticide safety.
“The Department of Labour takes this opportunity to remind farmers and farm workers of the duty of care needed while using these chemicals. Employers must provide protective gear and a safe working environment for employees in accordance with the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the statement added.
Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar has called on all stakeholders to be understanding of the suspension on glyphosate-based herbicides “in light of the nation’s quest to promote a safe working environment and good agricultural health and food safety practices.”