St Vincent and the Grenadines Suspends Imports of Glyphosate Herbicides
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has just placed an immediate suspension on importations of any herbicides that contain glyphosate.
It is unclear at this point what prompted the sudden suspension of glyphosate products – but could it be that the recent courtroom verdict-heard-round-the-world had something do with safety fears?
Groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson is to receive $289 million dollars from chemical giant Monsanto (now apart of Bayer) after Monsanto was found guilty in a lawsuit for failing warn Johnson of health risks associated with the glyphosate herbicide Roundup. Johnson has terminal non-Hodgkins lymphoma and cancer lesions all over his body. Monsanto plans to appeal.
Acting on the advice of the Pesticides Board, the government said the chemical is found in pesticides such as Round-Up, Touchdown, and Glyphos.
According to a statement on Friday, the move is pending a technical review by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry, and Labour.
“A preliminary review was conducted by the Pesticides Board which revealed that further research is needed regarding these listed chemicals. In the interim, a special technical committee was established to advise on sustainable alternatives to the listed chemicals. This committee is expected to present its findings by October 1,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture have been requested to provide support to the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a full chemical analysis of the products.
The Ministry is also scheduled to launch a national sensitisation programme with stakeholders within the sector.
In addition, St Vincent’s Department of Labour seized the opportunity to remind farmers and workers the “duty of care” while using herbicidal/pesticidal chemicals.
“Employers must provide protective gears and a safe working environment for employees in accordance with the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the statement added [emphasis mine].
Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar called on all stakeholders to honor the suspension on the imports “in light of the nation’s quest to promote a safe working environment and good agricultural health and food safety practices.”
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