30 Nov 2015

Concern in Tonga over crop pesticide and cancer link

8:00 am on 30 November 2015

Tonga's Ministry of Agriculture says the misuse of pesticides there is contaminating food crops, affecting the health of farmers and could be causing cancer in the community.

Its deputy director, Sione Foliaki, has been researching the use and effects of agrochemicals and says it is an issue that requires urgent attention in Tonga.


pesticide Photo: 123rf

Dr Foliaki says many farmers tend to use too much pesticide on their crops, which can seep into the soil and waterways, causing a health risk for the public.

He says he has been working closely with farmers to change this.

"There has been work to do pesticide awareness, to train farmers how to use pesticide efficiently and also the safe use of pesticides, for the safety of the farmers themselves, because they are handling toxic chemicals, and also for the consumers, the people who are buying the vegetables daily for their daily consumption at home."

Sione Foliaki says more research on the effects of pesticide on people is needed.