Pesticides residues discussed
National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) recently brought together some key stakeholders to talk about pesticides residues in fruits and vegetables.
When giving welcome remarks, Acting Managing Director Dr Kebakile said the workshop follows the study that looked at identification and quantification of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables consumed by the public.
Dr Kebakile said the study was carried out in Kanye and extended SelibePhikwe where NFTRC currently runs a commercial food processing plant.
He said that the baseline survey study was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for NFTRC to look at the safety of food consumed in Botswana.
Therefore NFTRC went on and did the assessment of pesticides residues found in fruits and vegetables and of the incidence of mycotoxins in selected food products from various storage facilities in Botswana.
He urged the workshop participants to feel free and discuss the way forward regarding the recent NFTRC findings, adding that government entities must work together to protect the health of Batswana.
Food Chemistry Department Principal Research Scientist Dr Boitshepo Keikotlhaile said the results from the pilot samples showed that some of the pesticides residues found were below the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) set by Codex Alimentarius, while others were above the MRLs and some have been prohibited for use in recent years.
Dr Keikotlhaile highlighted that NFTRC is open for collaboration with other stakeholders on the subject matter.
Ministry of Health and Wellness Chief Health Officer, Mr Abia Sebaka commended NFTRC for doing the study in Selibe Phikwe as a quality control measure for NAPro.
Mr Sebaka advised NFTRC to carry out the study in areas of preference then grow the study country wide with time.
Local Enterprise Authority representative, Mr Kereemang Moilwa called for root cause analysis so that the issue of pesticide residue is solved form the farm to the consumer.
He recommended that more stakeholders, especially policy makers, should be involved in the project.
When asked about the fruitfulness of the workshop, Dr Keikotlhaile said everything went well, adding that whatever was discussed will be used in the future.
She said the main challenge was that the stakeholders tasked with Pesticides Residues Legislation could not make it to the workshop due to unforeseen circumstances.
The workshop was attended by representatives from Ministry of Health and Wellness, Botswana, National Veterinary Laboratory, Agric Business and Local Enterprise Authority.