Indiscriminate Use of Pesticides is Rampant in Amazonas, Brazil

Eighty three percent of the fruit and vegetable producers in the cities of Manaus, Iranduba, Careiro da Várzea, and Manacapuru, in northern Brazil, use pesticides, and 90% of them have never received any kind of technical orientation about the selection or application of these substances.

The bulk of fruit and vegetable cultivation in the state of Amazonas is concentrated in these four municipalities, which are the object of the study, “Implantation of a System for the Monitoring and Control of Human and Environmental Poisoning by Pesticides in the State of Amazonas.”


The research, which is being conducted by the Faculty of Agrarian Sciences of the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam) and funded by the Research Support Foundation of the State of Amazonas (Fapeam), will extend through April, 2006. The preliminary results reported here have not been published yet.


Between September, 2004, and March of this year, the researchers interviewed 320 farmers and discovered that the use of pesticides is generally recommended by colleagues or the salesmen themselves.


“This is a sign of a lack of technical support from the organs in charge of extension. The result is that the farmer chooses the wrong product for that crop or pest and applies it without knowing the correct procedures to avoid being poisoned,” explained Andrea Waichman, coordinator of the study.


It is as if someone bought medicine without a doctor’s prescription, upon the suggestion of a friend or pharmacy salesclerk, and took it without even reading the directions.


Another serious fact observed by Waichman is the generalized use of products that contain highly toxic substances that have already been prohibited in the European Union.


Methyl parathion is one of them (23.29% of the fruit and vegetable plantations in the study were treated with pesticides containing this substance). ” The small farmer chooses the pesticide by the speed of its effect: it has to be powerful,” she concluded.


Through next April the study will form the basis of a data bank available for public consultation on the Internet. The data bank will catalogue the types of pesticides used in Amazonas, the chemical composition of each one, the amount used on the crops, and the number of cases of poisoning .


To help compile the list, the researchers plan to train health agents to identify the symptoms of insecticide and herbicide poisoning.


Moreover, all the farmers who were interviewed will receive orientations from the researchers on the correct use of pesticides.


“Organic farming, unfortunately, is still a very remote ideal in our state,” Waichman laments.


Agência Brasil

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  • Guest

    Global Conscience- it is a must when it
    I live in California, USA. Today I bought and threw away guava juice because I found that it was made from Brazil. I hope that something can be done to educate farmers on the dangers of pesticides. Perhaps that knowledge that their produce is not desirable??? I don’t know, but it is very sad how our world and people lack conscience and are driven to achieve bigger and better yields. Chemicals are never good for the environment and everyone knows that. If they say “didn’t know”, I would say that is most likely a lie they are telling themselves and others.

    Education and Fear – the only way to get people to change their ways, fear for the environment, fear for our people living here today, and fear for our unborn children that they will not have a clean environment to live. All we are promising our children is a world full of contaminents that cause pain and death!

    I, myself, live on 3/4 acre in so CA and produce enough crops by organic farming to feed my family and share with others. I still supplement by purchasing from the store, but each day I am learning that I cannot trust what is in my market.

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