ORGANIC fertilisers could be a possible substitute to the toxic chemicals which are used by farmers locally, said Registrar of the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB), Trecia David.
In keeping with government’s push to develop a green state, the board intends on exploring the option of promoting the use of organic fertilisers and lesser toxic pesticides.
Organic fertilisers are defined as those which are derived from animal matter, animal excreta (manure), human excreta, and vegetable matter (compost and crop residues).
Naturally, occurring organic fertilisers include animal wastes from meat processing, peat, manure, slurry, and guano.
“In keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we are encouraging registration of organics and lesser toxic pesticides,” said David, during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
She said persons have already joined the effort to introduce the products, but there is still a need to sensitise the farmers who have been using the more toxic chemicals over the years.
“We have been working to ensure we have sensitisation and we are preparing to do that in that regard,” said David, adding “we have gone beyond agricultural communities since it is crucial for the board to invest in training and awareness.”
The board intends on targeting areas like Mahdia and other hinterland communities which are moving towards agriculture. “We need to inform them to protect themselves and we have recognised the drive for Guyana to go green,” David added.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), pesticides are potentially toxic to humans and can have both acute and chronic health effects, depending on the quantity and ways in which a person is exposed.
The WHO explained that the toxicity of a pesticide depends on its function and other factors. For example, insecticides tend to be more toxic to humans than herbicides. The same chemical can have different effects at different doses (how much of the chemical a person is exposed to). It can also depend on the route by which the exposure occurs (such as swallowing, inhaling, or direct contact with the skin).
None of the pesticides that are authorised for use on food in international trade today are genotoxic (damaging to DNA, which can cause mutations or cancer).
The WHO, however, explained that adverse effects such as cancer from those pesticides occur only above a certain safe level of exposure.
There are more than 1000 pesticides used around the world to ensure food is not damaged or destroyed by pests. Each pesticide has different properties and toxicological effects.