Licence system for use of pesticides

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 12:00am

Pest controllers and farmers will be required to gain licences to use hazardous pesticides, the Government has proposed.

Assistant director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Dr Leslie Sims said up to 3,000 people would be affected by the amendment.

The existing ordinance empowers the department to register pesticides and to regulate their manufacture, import, supply and sale through licensing control. However, there is no regulation over the use and purchase of pesticides.

Under the proposal, the registration of pesticides will be restructured. Low-risk pesticides such as mothballs and mosquito coils will have few or no restrictions.

Only licensed pest-control service providers and authorised farmers would be allowed to use pesticides for plant protection or control of disease.

Training courses for registration are available costing $2,000, or an assessment can be undertaken evaluating ability to handle and apply pesticides safely.

Farmers will be required to complete a practical training course before being authorised to buy and use higher-category pesticides.

President of Hong Kong Pest Control Jackson Chan supported the registration system but feared the training course or assessment of skills might not be welcomed by some applicants.

'It's difficult to tell those over 40 to undergo a test or a training course after working in the field for many years,' Mr Chan said.

The proposed ordinance will be tabled for discussion in the next Legco session.