Consolidated Responses for the PAFPNet Discussion for the month of September:

Date: 22/09/14 – 6/10/14

The management of pesticides in the Pacific Islands Agriculture Production

The PAFPNet discussion for the month of September raised a number of issues as well as suggested solutions. During the discussion, the use of chemical pesticides was seen in the light of two scopes, highlighting both the beneficial aspects of its usage as well as its harmful effects.

Although it was agreed that the use of pesticides does definitely contribute towards enhancing agricultural growth, the effects that follow is the issue. In stating this, majority of the members placed emphasis on the importance of understanding the use of pesticides and following the required protocols in its usage. In having a clearer understanding of its use, the side effects of the chemical would be reduced drastically.

The use of pesticides is a concept that is impossible to completely move away from and is seen as a necessary evil, meaning that the need for the use of pesticides is fundamental for sustaining agriculture.

Majority of the respondents have stated that the use of chemical pesticides unnecessarily can and should be done away with. It was mentioned that the best solution to minimizing the effects and toxicity of pesticide use would be to simply ban it altogether. In reference to the members’ responses there have been steps undertaken which has already been either considered or initiated by their countries as the result of the detrimental effects pesticide use has on their water supply and human health.

From experience the wise use of pesticides has been identified as an area lacking focus. This discussion provided a platform for all the members to share on common grounds that Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) is rarely used when dealing with pesticides. Bad practices are simply due to high cost of PPEs as well as the humid weather conditions. Also most of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) lack this personal protective equipment (PPEs) and the knowledge to understand the behaviour of each individual pesticide. This lack of knowledge triggers the mismanagement use of pesticide.

The implementation of pesticide legislation and registration is very important as stressed by the members. Imposing these regulations will improve pesticide monitoring in to countries and provide a clearer understanding of the behaviour of each individual pesticide.

The members also suggested that Integrates Pesticide Management (IPM) approach can be an alternative to the use of chemical pesticides. IPM generally includes the agricultural use of biological controls, cultural methods, pest monitoring, crop rotation, the use of botanical pesticides and composting.

Many of the members have seen the need for a shift towards using organic pesticides. Although, chemical pesticide use is a means for keeping production at its peak it was pointed out that consumers are also making a shift towards the consumption of organic agriculture produce. The discussion did not fail to highlight the high labour intensive work involved in organic farming, but it also did not forget to illustrate the long-term benefits of this practice. Organic farming according to the members will not only improve the soil content and safeguard drinking water supplies but also protect human health for both farmers and consumers.