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The National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) yesterday received 15 pesticide storage cabinets valued at $700,000 from the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB).

During a simple handing over ceremony at the PTCCB’s Mon Repos Office, Registrar of the PTCCB, Ms. Treica David said that the PTCCB will be working with NAREI to ensure farmers and extension officers have a clear understanding of the requirements by which the chemicals should be used and stored.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha

“Today, we’ve collaborated with our sister agency, NAREI, to allow them to have access to pesticides storage cabinets which will be sent to the various regions where these chemicals will be stored. We’ve also worked with NAREI to ensure there is an understanding of the requirements by which these chemicals are to be used. Monocrotophos is restricted in Guyana for use in the coconut industry. One of the things we’ve worked with NAREI on is to ensure that extension agents understand that these pesticides need to be stored in accordance with the law and given to farmers for the treatment of pests only in coconuts with relevant records kept, both by the farmer and NAREI, and back to storage once they’ve been used,” Ms. David said.

The 15 storage cabinets will be distributed across the coconut-producing regions for the safe storage of monocrotophos, a chemical primarily used for the treatment of pests in the coconut industry.

Some of the cabinets that were donated

Also present to do the official handing over of the cabinets to NAREI on behalf of the PTCCB was Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha. While delivering brief remarks, Minister Mustapha said that with a large number of requests by farmers for monocrotophos, NAREI and PTCCB had collaborated to ensure the chemical was made available to the farmers in a safe and manageable way. 

“During my outreaches to areas like Wakenaam and other parts of the country primarily known as large-scale coconut producing Regions, farmers made requests for this particular chemical. Much consideration was given to these requests given the toxicity of this chemical and our efforts as a government to tackle pesticide suicide. The Registrar was made aware of these requests and insisted that special emphasis be placed on how these chemicals were going to be stored. With that in mind, the PTCCB committed to making these cabinets available and today they are making good on that commitment. These are the kinds of efforts that we are putting in place to develop the sector in a safe and sustainable way,” Minister Mustapha said.

Minister Mustapha while handing over the pesticide storage cabinets.

The subject Minister also said that stakeholders can rest assured knowing that government will continue to make the necessary investments in the sector to ensure farmers and their families are safe and that emerging industries like the coconut industry have the necessary support to reach their full potential.

The PTCCB will continue to execute its mandate through the holistic and comprehensive management of pesticides and toxic chemicals in Guyana with key support at the national level.

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