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Cayman Islands Government

Promoting Safe Pesticide Use

Participants and lecturers in the Department of Agriculture's Safe Use and Handling of Pesticides workshop held recently.

Local personnel are being trained in the safe use of pesticides. The Department of Agriculture (DOA) recently held a one-week workshop, Safe Use and Handling of Pesticide Products.

Attended by 15 persons drawn from the farming community, pest control companies, and nursery and landscaping operations, the workshop provided a comprehensive overview of how pesticides can be used safely and effectively to combat common pests and reduce the damage they cause.

The workshop looked at different types of pests, categories of pesticides and how they work; pesticide labels and directions; potential health and environmental hazards associated with the use and misuse of pesticides, and methods of applying these chemicals.

Speaking at the workshop's opening, Deputy Premier and Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, JP said that government recognizes that safe, judicious and effective use of pesticides is critical.

"While pesticides are an indispensable tool in the maintenance of an aesthetically pleasing environment as well as for food production and storage, as a community we must ensure that these chemicals are applied safely," she said.

She further noted the serious risks that improper use of pesticides pose to the environment and public safety.

First held in 1996 in conjunction with the University of the West Indies, this workshop is in its 7th staging, and is the sixth exclusively implemented by the DOA's technical staff, with the support of guest lecturers from the Department of Environmental Health and the Health Services Authority.

DOA Director Adrian Estwick said that to date, more than 130 persons have received this training. Participants are evaluated through practical and written examinations and certificates are awarded for full participation, achievement, merit and distinction. Mr. Estwick stated that he was particularly pleased with this year's class in which 60 per cent of the participants scored in the upper two categories.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes