Paraquat ban should include all weed killers
Organic farming advocate, Uaea Laki Apelu, fully supports the call to ban paraquat from Samoa. He also believes other weed killers should be banned too.
Paraquat is toxic and Uaea, the Production Manager of Fuatino Natural Products, is concerned that not many people are raising concerns over its use when it should be "red flags 24 hours a day" with the effects of its use.
"I took it up with the C.E.O. of M.A.F. (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) because they should stop selling it," Uaea told the Samoa Observer.
"The amount of paraquat spraying done in the farming industry has gotten to a very critical stage whereby old practices such as weeding and mowing the lawn isn't done anymore.
"It’s MAF’s duty to promote good agricultural practices."
According to Uaea, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries aren't raising awareness or concerns over the use of paraquat when yet they are a part of the protection of the security of the food system and health system.
"Some of the farmers who do the spraying don’t even wear any protective gear and this is the responsibility of MAF and MOH, that if they sell these things they need to enforce safe usage for the safety of those who are spraying," he said
Uaea stated that it would be interesting to know from M.A.F. how much paraquat is used a year because he is concerned that all the spraying will eventually end up in what we consume.
"It’s not going to disappear into thin air, it’s going somewhere and the first place it would go to is down to the water system where the aquifer is," he added
He also questioned the organic farmers and their whereabouts when the use of paraquat has now become an intense issue and that they should be worried.
Uaea also described another poor practice which he believes should be addressed by the related ministries and agencies.
"Another poor practice is when families decorate their gardens or the outside of their houses with rocks and tyres that have been painted. And so in the next 5-6 months, the tyres and rocks go back to its original colour," he said
"So when it rains it turns the paint into liquid and takes it down to the water system affecting the aquifer again."
He believes that through these practices, we are self-destructing our ecosystem.
"And the agencies and people paid, that’s the worst part, the people paid to prevent that aren’t doing anything about all these poor practices," he said
He encouraged that farmers should go back to the old traditional farming and agricultural practices where the land is cultivated and worked without chemicals.
"It doesn’t cost anything, it doesn’t cost any money or any production," Uaea emphasised