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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

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Farmers educated on safe use of Paracot

High incidence of farmer deaths due to unsafe, irresponsible use of pesticide:

The Health Ministry which has observed a high incidence of farmer deaths due to unsafe and irresponsible use of the pesticide Paracot has drawn up a programme to educate farmers in agricultural regions about the safe use of the chemical, a ministry release said yesterday.

This follows a directive issued by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena and ministry Additional Secretary Dr Palitha Maheepala.

It has been observed that a large number of farmers in areas such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Vavuniya extensively use Paracot as an insecticide in their fields.

A large number of farmer fall ill by inhaling the chemical spray as they don't use masks, gloves and other protective gear while spraying it. About 90 percent of those subjected to intense inhalation of the spray, later die in hospital despite efforts by doctors to save their lives. Dr Maheepala said this problem figured prominently during a discussion at the Galgamuwa Hospital regarding development activities recently.

A special strategy is observed in the Nuwara Eliya district at present as regard the sale of Paracot to farmers in the area.

A person purchasing Paracot has to establish his identity to the shop owner and prove that he or she is engaged in farming as a vocation.

This has helped to minimise the sale of Paracot unless in times of extreme need. Another cause of the death was the unsafe storage of the balance pesticide in homes after use within easy reach of those bent on ending their lives for the slightest family dispute.

It is to arrest this trend that the ministry launched an awareness campaign in the safe use of the pesticide in the agricultural areas, the release said.

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