Deadly paraquat purchases illegal
Purchasing a restricted pesticide such as paraquat without a license is illegal.
This was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Tilafono David Hunter.
The warning from Tilafono was in response to questions from the Samoa Observer after an investigation where the newspaper visited different farm supplies stores to check on compliance with the rules. The Samoa Observer noticed that farmers were not asked about their permits. Instead they were just sold the products freely.
But Tilafono said this is an offense under the Pesticides Regulation 2011, reminding that it is strictly prohibited to buy paraquat without obtaining a user license from the M.A.F. Quarantine Division.
"Paraquat is a restricted pesticide as designated by the Pesticide Technical Committee that may only be sold to a person who is the holder of a restricted pesticide permit under the Pesticides Regulation 2011," he said
"If a local commercial supplier/seller is selling Paraquat over the counter to a buyer without a user permit/license, then this is a breach of a condition on which the license was granted."
Tilafono also said that the M.A.F. Quarantine Division as the secretariat of the Pesticide Technical Committee will be sending out official letters to commercial suppliers reminding them of their obligations under the Regulation and that their licenses may be revoked or suspended if they don't comply.
"So we’re going to send them a reminder letter that if we conduct a spot check and find out that they’re freely selling paraquat without a consumer license over the counter, then there will be a fine or penalty under the regulation," he added
In an article published by the Samoa Observer in May, Tilafono said that all pesticides including paraquat must be approved for registration by the Pesticide Technical Committee prior to being imported and distributed. The Committee is the responsible body for the registration, control and management of all pesticides in Samoa.
"All users must be/are licensed. An inspection is carried out by the Registrar of Pesticides on the premise of a user prior to being issued a license. This is to ensure that the applicant adheres to conditions required by the Pesticide Technical Committee," Tilafono said in May
"These conditions include, a letter of recommendation by the “sui o le nuú” about the applicant, a box/room specifically for the storage of pesticide(s) as well as to comply with other conditions as per Part IV of the Pesticides Regulations 2011."