The government is amending the pesticides control act to more tightly control the availability, distribution and use of dangerous but commonly used chemicals, such as Round-Up, that Agriculture Minister Indar Weir warns have been linked to cancer.
Speaking in the House of Assembly, Mr. Weir noted that farmers have been using chemicals widely to clear fields of weeds but he’s concerned that the pesticides are not only killing off useful insects in large amounts but can also end up in the water supply.
Some of the changes include establishing a registrar of pesticides and making the Chief Agricultural Officer, the Chairman of the Pesticides Control Board.
Mr. Weir says it’s time for Barbados to a serious conversation about the use of pesticides.
He highlighted the risks
Mr. Weir proposes that farmers use labour to a far greater extent rather than chemicals for de-bushing noting this would also create employment.
Meantime, the agriculture Minister has also announced plans to capture run-off rain water in several large reservoirs that will be used to provide irrigation to farms and guarantee them a year-round supply of water.
He points out that the dams created will also protect farms from floods that destroy crops.
Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherly, however, questions the minister on the extent to which the water supply has been contaminated.