BY MARTHA CHIKOTI
The Food and Agriculture Organization has empowered community broadcasters to raise more awareness to farmers on pesticide management.
This was done through a three day workshop organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with support from Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
The training was conducted in Kasungu district under the pesticides risk reduction project.
The aim of the workshop was to impart knowledge to community radio broadcasters on pesticides risk reduction as a way of encouraging radio stations to raise awareness to the general public at large.
Speaking with reporters, Principal Pesticides Inspector from the Pesticides Control Board (PCB) Lesten Piyo Banda said farmers, media practitioners as well as the public should be aware of the hazards and risks of the pesticides.
Banda added that the labels and the lines that are shown on the pesticides bottles must be understood and followed by the user who is the farmer before buying and using the pesticides.
“We are asking our farmers to avoid buying pesticides from unregistered vendors. We are also encouraging them to wear personal protective equipment before applying the pesticides. You broadcasters should help us raise awareness about the potential health and environmental hazards related to the use or misuse of pesticides and empty pesticides containers,” he explained.
Banda encouraged the community radios to take up the crucial role in changing the farmers’ attitude towards using alternatives to pesticides, especially adopting integrated pesticides management (IPM) techniques.
In her remarks, member of Samba Mfumu Farmer Fields School, Teleza Mwale, who also participated in the training commended FAO for the workshop saying it has improved the knowledge they had regarding the issue of pesticides.
Mwale then said that there is more need to be done in civic educating farmers in remote areas on how they can apply the pesticides to avoid putting their lives at risk.
The three day workshop which started on Monday and ended on Wednesday brought together different community radios from Likoma, Chitipa, Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Mulanje and Nsanje.
The participants conducted the field visits to Agro-dealers shops in Kasungu town.