Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ministry tightens pesticide monitoring system

The Gulf Today, 11 Sept 2010 

Further enforcing the measures for public safety and environmental protection, the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) has decided to strictly monitor the use of pesticides in the country.
The ministry has increased the number of pesticides to be analysed and lab-tested from 92 products to 190, by increasing the number of tests on different varieties of the pesticides used on vegetables and fruits, according to an MOEW spokesperson.
“The MOEW encourages farmers to engage in organic farming rather than the use of chemicals to keep the growth of pests from decaying vegetables and fruits.
Hydroponics, cultivation of plants in a nutrient solution rather than in the soil, is also encouraged by the ministry,” he added.
“The MOEW focuses on ensuring the quality of fresh farm produce, as well as streamline the flow of imported fruits and vegetables produce to ensure their safety for human consumption,” elaborated the MOEW official.
According to Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahd, the Minister of Environment and Water, the move comes as the agricultural imports have been overwhelmingly increased through the UAE ports.
“The plans had been discussed with the representatives of the country’s wholesale fruits and vegetables traders to clarify the programmes and initiatives undertaken by the ministry,” he added.
“They were educated on the tightening of the control over the use of pesticides spraying on fresh importing produce, their role on safeguarding the health of the consumers and ensure the quality of the fruits and vegetables,” elaborated the minister.
“The ministry wanted to raise the rate of bio-security in the country, and protect the residents from various deadly diseases,” said Dr Fahd.
He urged the traders to comply with the new regulations on the import permits for pesticides, their samples should be strictly analysed by the inspectors.
Large quantities of prohibited pesticides had been confiscated from the Madam agricultural district of Sharjah, by the MOEW inspectors recently, during a surprise inspection visit to establishments in the business of agro products and food items.
Dr Mariam Al Shinasi, Acting Director General of the MOEW, said, “An integrated nation-wide system to control circulation and use of the pesticides in the country would update regulations and conditions and develop legislation for controlling such products with stringent criteria for their registration and circulation in the country.”
The MOEW had curbed curry leaf import from India last year as the ministry laboratory in Al Ain found high levels of harmful chemicals in sample leaves taken during routine inspections.

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