Expert helps FPA improve guidelines on aerial spray
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (28 January) -- An international expert on aerial spraying and drift observed similar methods used by a banana plantation in Davao del Sur and in several plantations he worked with in many countries like Costa Rica, United States, and Australia.
Invited by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), Dr. Andrew Hewitt arrived in Davao City last Tuesday (January 26) to check on the agricultural practice in banana plantations.
FPA executive director Dr. Norlito Gicana said that the output coming from Hewitt can be a big help to the newly-formed FPA-DA Task Force on Aerial Spraying following the recent clamor of environmentalists calling for the ban and regulation of aerial spray in banana farms.
"The banana plantation here uses the same method with other countries I have worked in. I see their method as very professional and properly done," Hewitt said.
The scientist is the manager of Chemical Applications Research and Training at Lincoln Ventures Limited, a science and technology company of Lincoln University in Canterbury, England.
He observed that the method being used in the country maintains a wider buffer zone than the standards followed in the plantations abroad.
Hewitt also explained that the ground spray is actually hazardous than the aerial method since the latter only uses about 30 to 40 liters of chemicals than the ground spray that requires up to 400 liters.
"Now you can imagine the hazard brought about by too much chemicals used when you spray from the ground," he added.
However, the expert claimed that there are still hazardous instances that come about when doing the aerial spray. It's just that plantations abroad are guided by strict standards set by the government.
The FPA welcomed recommendation and suggestions made by Hewitt as the task force is in the process of improving the guidelines for aerial spray.
He said that the government is looking at many areas affected by this issue which include the economy, health of the people, and the environment.
Hewitt also delivered a talk to the scientists from the University of the Philippines on scientific technologies prescribed internationally.
The forum was conducted under the auspices of the 15th Anniversary Symposium Series of UP Mindanao in cooperation with the FPA. (PIA XI) [top]