New figures from the Ministry of Agro-Industry show that the percentage of fruits and vegetables containing pesticides beyond the authorised limit has gone from 2.3 to 10 % in a matter of 4 years.
Every year, samples of fruits and vegetables are collected from planters by officers of the Food and Agricultural Research & Extension Institute to be analysed at the Food Tech Lab of the Ministry of Agro-Industry. Back in 2010, the results showed that 2.3 % of the products contained a concentration of pesticides that was higher than the Maximum Residue Level (the authorised level). This increased to 2.7 %, 6 %, 7.2 %, 10 % in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.
It appears that planters abuse of the use of pesticides, specially those who do not wish to wait for an adequate period of time to harvest their plants.
What is even more worrying is that no institution controls the use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers in the country.
The increased use of the chemicals is linked with diseases among consumers.
The vice-president of the Private Medical Practitioners’ Association, Dr Mohammad Isshaq Jowahir, says in a statement to l’Express.mu that the rise in the number of cancer cases in Mauritius is linked with the non-regulated use of pesticides. He also mentioned other health problems such as respiratory ailments, skin diseases, and infertility, that are allegedly associated with the chemicals.