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Local Chinese farmers learn proper pesticide use in their native language

Translator Program Manager Autagavaia Tunai Alfred Peters explain proper pesticide disposal procedures

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) and American Samoa Community College (ASCC) - Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) Division conducted a special pesticide applicator training program specifically for Chinese farmers from March 4th to 6th at the ACNR Conference Room. This is the first time Chinese farmers have attended a pesticide applicator training.

“There are quite a few Chinese farmers producing vegetables that are sold to the Department of Education’s School Lunch Program and grocery stores,” said ASCC-ACNR Agriculture Extension Program Manager Autagavaia Tunai Alfred Peters. “Chinese farmers never attend our Quarterly Pesticide Applicator Safety Certification Trainings because they do not understand English or Samoan. Because of that, we applied for a pesticide grant that would fund pesticide training for these farmers to make sure that they become educated and that they are in compliance with pesticide rules and regulations.”

Along with Peters, ASEPA’s Environmental Specialist Tualagi Gaoteote conducted the training for 11 Chinese farmers. Feng Ling Zhang was hired to translate the training materials into the Chinese language. She also helped during the training sessions by translating training information for the Chinese farmers to reinforce the curriculum and to avoid any confusion or miscommunication.

This pesticide applicator-training program consisted of both lecture and hands-on training in English and Chinese. During the three-day training, participants learned about the safe and effective use of pesticides, proper storage, worker protection, rules and regulations, environmental safety and agricultural health. Participants who successfully complete the written exam will receive an American Samoa Pesticide Applicator Certification.

“This training is beneficial to these farmers because now they will have the knowledge and skills to purchase and apply pesticides lawfully and safely,” said Peters. “The improper use of pesticides can lead to harmful effects on the environment and human health. When more farmers successfully complete these trainings we greatly reduce the possibility of pesticide-contaminated produce being supplied to the community. It assures the people of American Samoa that they can buy vegetables safe from pesticide abuse.”

The Quarterly Pesticide Applicator Safety Certification Training is free and offered every three months by ASCC-ACNR. If you are using farm pesticides or are planning to use chemicals in the near future, these trainings are a good opportunity to learn about the safe usage of these chemicals. For more information on the pesticide applicator-training program contact the ASCC-ACNR Agriculture Extension Program at 699-1575, ext. 240.