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Senator warns of overuse of chemicals in agriculture

Senator warns of overuse of chemicals in agriculture


In the fight to end hunger across St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), close attention must be paid to the chemicals used in agricultural production.

This is the view of senator Jomo Thomas, who during his contribution to the debate in Parliament last Tuesday, on a motion to achieve zero hunger, said there is an over-reliance in our agricultural{{more}} sector on chemical fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides, which he said are poisoning our food.

Thomas singled out the agricultural weedicide Round-Up, which is widely used here, but has been banned in several countries around the world.

“…If we are talking about doing the things that would make our people healthier, then it seems to me that this governmental task force that we intend to set up, that would be for hunger and under nourishment, ought to take a more holistic view on the issue of food security and what we end up putting on our plate and into our mouths.”

He said the use of Round-up, whose scientific name is glyphosate, is something that the task force needs to pay close attention to.

According to an article in the Independent, the United Nations Interna­tional Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The weedkiller is used by amateur gardeners, as well as farmers and is the foremost product of American biotechnology giant Monsanto.

Glyphosate is the most-produced weedkiller in the world, according to the IARC.

The agency’s evaluation of glyphosate saw “limited evidence” of a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as seen in studies in the United States, Sweden and Canada, conducted among farm workers since 2001.

Monsanto has strongly contested the IARC classification, commenting that “relevant, scientific data was excluded from review.”

Thomas also mentioned BPA (Bisphenol A) which is a synthetic compound used mainly in making plastics. “What BPA does is the chemical itself leaches into the food which we are consuming,” he explained. BPA is mainly found in canned goods, plastic storage containers, baby bottles etc.

The senator is also of the opinion that it is perhaps the overuse of these chemicals which has caused the reduction in banana production across St Vincent and the Grenadines.