Workshop on supporting evidence-based pesticide regulation and risk reduction in Georgia, with a focus on vulnerable groups

Workshop Documents

 
TitleEnglish
Items: 3Load time table: 187.2003 msec
Leaflet684.02 K
Project Brochure6.07 MB
Report1.71 MB

Outcome

PAN UK and Eco-life, explained the approach taken to collect data and shared key findings from the research as well as presenting a preliminary set of policy options for addressing the issues identified and prioritisation of policy responses.

Key findings

  • Awareness raising and information for pesticide users and bystanders - Few pesticide users or their communities are aware of the hazards associated with pesticide use and as a result, few users take steps to protect themselves from pesticide exposure. Similarly family members are often exposed to pestcides via other routes – for example through contact with contaminated clothing. The workshop participants recommended that more effort should be made to raise awareness about pesticide hazards and to encourage users and their families to take steps to reduce their exposure. All the possible means should be used: TV, radio, newspaper, social media, leaflets and meetings
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Just 0.2% of users wear appropriate PPE, partly because they are not aware of the hazards, but also because PPE is not available and expensive. Other factors such as poor work conditions, unemployment and difficulty of communicating with non-Georgian communities: people work when they find a job and don’t care about or can’t afford PPE. Measures should be considered to mandate the use of PPE (especially for employees) and to make low cost equipment available.
  • Technical training for pesticide users and farmers in general: As well as being unaware about the hazards or pesticides, very few farmers and workers have had any technical training in pesticide use. As a result, they use pesticides excessively and inappropriately. This has implications for profitability of production, and risks problems of pest resurgence. Emphasis should be placed on improving the training for users and providing access to independent information sources – currently the main source of information is pesticide retailers whose business depends on volumes of pesticides sold rather than effective pest control and use.
  • Set up a system to collect data about pesticide poisoning: The survey revealed that large numbers of users reported symptoms of pesticide poisoning after use. However, the Ministry of health does not systematically capture data on poisoning incidents. The workshop participants identified a need for more reliable data on pesticide poisoning and urged the development of a national system to collect this information.
  • Training for medical staff: Few health workers have been trained to recognise the symptoms of pesticide poisoning and, as a result, do not automatically consider pestcides as a cause of illness when patients present. This can result in misdiagnosis and even the prescription of inappropriate – or even harmful - treatment options. It also contributes to the under-reporting of pesticide poisoning. The workshop participants welcomed one of the recommendations from the previous study (Protecting farmers and vulnerable groups from pesticide poisoning) that rural health workers be provided with additional training to recognize pesticide poisoning and that awareness raising materials aimed at medical professionals be developed and distributed to rural health centres. Ideally, these materials should include treatment options.
  • Identification of less toxic alternatives and non-chemical approaches: Workshop participants pointed out that it’s better to use safer alternatives, rather than make bad use of pesticides and rely on PPE for protection. The survey usefully identified the ten pesticides most frequently associated with poisoning along with the crops and pests they are used to control. Identification of less toxic pesticides and non-chemical options for controlling these pests would help to reduce poisoning incidents.
  • Farmer Field Schools (FFS): Related to the above point, an FFS programme to train farmers in Integrated pest management to reduce their reliance on pesticides, and adopt effective non-chemical pest control approaches would be welcomed in the country. The idea of a pilot programme in Kvemo Kartli was supported as a good answer to the expressed needs.
  • Pesticide regulation: Areas for improving pesticide regulation and management were discussed. Options supported included: better labelling of pesticides, tackling counterfeit pesticides, stricter licensing requirements for retailers and more action on container management.
  • Kvemo Kartli region: The regional head recognised that there is a problem with pesticides in the region. The area is an important agricultural centre that produces 85% of all the potatoes, 68% of all the onions, 30 to 35% of all the tomatoes in Georgia. He was interested to learn more about alternative methods and keen to tackle the problem with training and awareness raising programmes.

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