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We second the motion, Senator Thomas


SEARCHLIGHT supports unreservedly, the call made earlier this week in Parliament by Senator Jomo Thomas for a closer look to be taken at the chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides used in agricultural production in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Thomas made the point that we are victims of our own ‘progress’ and ‘development,’ as today, we are falling victim to lifestyle diseases which were far less prevalent in the days of our grandparents.{{more}}

In addition to the over consumption of food, consumption of the wrong types of food and our sedentary lifestyles, the senator paid special attention in his presentation to the poisonous chemicals that we use in agricultural production, many of which are banned in other countries.

These chemicals have been making their way into our water, on to our plates and into our bodies, and there is evidence to suggest that some of them cause cancer, kidney failure, damage to our reproductive systems, mental capacity and growth.

The use of certain chemicals in agriculture can also be counterproductive in the long run as some of them also affect pollinators like bees, butterflies and birds which are critical for the production of food.

In March this year, the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Why then is Roundup still allowed into our country? Why then is it still being used in our backyards and on our farms? This herbicide has already been banned in several countries around the world, the most recent being France and the Netherlands.

It might be argued that outright bans of some of these chemicals may in the short term reduce production levels and the ‘quality’ of our agricultural produce, but if we are serious about producing ‘clean’ food for our nation, we would press for organic substitutes and alternative methods of farming to keep away pests.

As Senator Thomas argued in his debate, we need to take a more holistic view of food production, food security and our public health policies. Our objective should not only be to get to zero hunger, we should at the same time strive to achieve a significant fall off in the level of morbidity among our people due to cancer and organ failure.