CARIBBEAN-AGRICULTURE-Regional countries participating in IICA project

AN JOSE, Costa Rica, Jun 16, – CMC – The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) says it is supporting institutions involved in pesticides registration in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) try to generate data that make it possible for them to promote maximum residue levels (MRL) for small scale crops in the region.

It said the project will allow the institutions to adjust to the consumption patterns of the inhabitants of each country.

The initiative, which is also upported by other agencies, is an attempt by these entities to harmonize their research criteria and procedures.

Specialist in agricultural health and food safety at IICA, Lourdes Fonalleras, said the lower or small-scale crops are those whose consumption is not significant among the population of a country.

She said the MRLs are the maximum concentrations of pesticide residues that the product can contain without implications for human health. They are established by the Codex Alimentarius, a set of international food standards that regulate food safety, quality and equity in international trade.

For Fonalleras, Codex does not have data that reflects the production characteristics or consumption patterns of the inhabitants of LAC. It is for this reason that generating one’s own information would enable lower MRLs to be defined, which would facilitate trade.

“In the case of soybeans, for example, the number of MRL applies both to products that are consumed in Asia and to those that are consumed in LAC; however, in LAC countries, consumption of soybeans is lower than in Asia”, said Fonalleras.

Apart from the institutions, the project is also being supported by the United States Department of Agriculture, through the Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS), and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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