DoA runs course on handling pesticides

| 19/10/2016
CNS Local Life

Brian Crichlow of the DoA (left) congratulates Randy Ebanks, the top student in the course

(CNS Local Life): Department of Agriculture (DoA) officials recently held a closing ceremony to recognise 18 participants in their one-week course on the safe use and handling of pesticides. At the event, on Monday, 10 October, Randy Ebanks, who has only been working at pest-control company Pestkil for four months, was recognised as the top graduate of the training programme.

Thanking the organisers, Ebanks said, “My company’s training covers most everything we completed on this training course, but it was good to learn more about pesticide handling and safety, especially the appropriate use of protective equipment.”

DoA Assistant Director Brian Crichlow congratulated the participants, saying they were “very focussed, and absorbed the course material well”.

Topics covered during training included appropriate selection of pesticides, safety and protection, toxicity, minimising chemical exposure and impact on the environment.

Participants were drawn from local landscapers, pest-control companies and government agencies. They attended lectures and formed working groups to create practical field projects. Each person also received a pesticide management reference manual.

Emphasising the safety of workers, the public and the environment, Crichlow said, “in the absence of appropriate legislation and regulation, education is our best tool”.

Joan Steer, DoA plant protection officer, coordinated the course with assistance from scientific assistant (crop protection) Shariffa Chantilope-Zelaya.

Other DoA staff, along with officials from the Department of Environmental Health and the Health Services Authority, also made presentations.

Steer described the training as “hectic and intense”, adding, “Even so, this will now allow students to carry out their work with more confidence.” She thanked the students for their “excellent participation – which was reflected in the testing”, and their employers for allowing them time to attend the training.

All participants passed the practical exams. The majority, based on their combined practical and written exam scores, gained merit- or distinction-level DoA certificates.

The new cohort brings to more than 150 the number of persons who have completed this pesticide-training course over the years. Successful participants also go on to share the knowledge and techniques that they have gained with their colleagues in various agencies and private companies.

Recognising the challenges faced by farmers and farm hands in attending the annual course, two months ago the DoA launched a new initiative to deliver on-farm “training interventions” in pesticide use and application, in addition to their regular field monitoring and advice. This practical training is also designed for backyard gardeners.

To date, hands-on sessions have been held for17 staff from five farms in the Bodden Town area. Other farms and districts will soon be added to the programme.

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Category: Agriculture, Training

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