The Bureau of Standards is expected this year to begin testing the pesticide residue levels on vegetables imported into the country.
“We have a state-of-the-art lab here in St. Vincent and Grenadines which will be able to provide support,” Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar told Parliament during the Budget Debate.
He noted that the government has banned the importation of glyphosate — a herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds and grasses.
“But those persons who we are buying from overseas, they’re using glyphosate…
“What if you’re eating vegetables with high pesticide residue on them? And it is the duty of the Bureau of Standards to check those levels and they’re properly placed to check them so that we can protect our citizens,” Caesar said.
“So, we will expect and anticipate for that to be operationalised within the first quarter of 2024 and also with the growth and expansion in the hotel industry, fisheries industry, the Bureau Standards will be extremely vigilant in 2024to ensure that standards are met,” he told lawmakers.
He said the government has done significant work as it pertains to conservation.
“We placed a total ban on aerial spraying. We placed a total ban on the importation of glyphosate. We placed a total ban on the use of Malathion in fogging because it kills the bees and also impacts human beings.”
He said the government has also set a minimum size of lobsters that can be harvested, banned the catching of parrot fish as well as the harvesting of sea turtles or their eggs.
“And we continue to protect the Union Island Gecko under international conservation laws,” he said.
Caesar also noted that the government has established a population of the national bird at the Association of the Conservation for Threatened Parrots in Germany so that there is another population elsewhere should a catastrophic event impact the local population.