Jamaica News: The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is reminding farmers to wear the proper protective gear when using pesticides on their farms.
Speaking with JIS News, Principal Director, Technical Services, RADA, Marina Young said the Agency has faced challenges with farmers, using the required gear such as, overalls, goggles, chemical resistant gloves and respirators.
“The reasons are various including the fact it is very hot, because even if they spray early in the morning or late afternoon, they are still in the tropics where the temperature is quite high,” she stated.
Mrs Young, further noted that based on RADA’s engagement with the over 36,000 farmers annually, the cost of protective gear is also an issue.
“The most critical gear are the long-sleeves shirt, long pants, water boots and chemical resistant gloves. The cost of the chemical resistant gloves is considered to be economical, as it is about $500 if bought in large quantities. However, respirators are the most expensive and can be between $4000-5000 depending on the brand and model,” she explained.
Mrs Young, however noted that technology is developing very rapidly and protective gear can be simplified.
“So instead of wearing overalls, farmers can use long-sleeve shirts and long pants which can be a lighter type of material,” she stated.
Meanwhile, the Principal Director said local chemical houses have been supporting RADA’s aim, to increase the use of protective gear by farmers.
“A number of them are now bringing in coveralls that are made of very light materials, some of the options even include disposables so there is no longer that challenge to access proper protective equipment,” Mrs Young explained.
She added that RADA will continue to emphasize the importance of using protective gear, through its training sessions and workshops.
“We will continue to highlight what protective gear to use, how to use them so that they can be used for a long time and reduce exposure to pesticides,” she said.
Source; JIS News