The Agriculture Ministry has been reviewing a pesticide containing Thiodicarb to deal with the Giant African snail, as the pesticide has shown increased success in other parts of the world, but alternative plans are also being developed for implementation within the coming weeks.
This was the word from Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Avinash Singh during Friday’s sitting of Parliament.
He was replying to queries from UNC MPs Vandana Mohit, Dave Tancoo and Ravi Ratiram following questions raised on strategies to combat the outbreak of Giant African snails nationwide.
Singh said, “I want to sympathise with the farmers. It’s really an issue we have to deal with.”
He said the ministry previously had a decentralised management programme geared towards the containment and reduction of snail populations in existing infestation zones and mitigation of spread, executed by a Giant African Snail Task Force.
“In light of recent increases in Giant African snail population sizes, the Giant African Snail Task Force has been reconstituted,” he said.
Singh said the team was always at the ministry but for the first time, members of the public and from the private sector have been incorporated. The committee has initiated work to develop plans to address the snail infestation in a more direct way.
Singh said currently, the ministry has moved from an eradication mode to a management approach since infestation has spread across the country and populations exceed the geographical coverage capabilities of the task force.
Management has taken the form of an advisory service, disseminating information to the public on how to deal with snail issues via fact sheets, posters, media releases, Facebook and YouTube videos.
Singh said that in 2020, the Pesticide and Toxic Chemical Control Board advised that the active ingredient Thiodicarb in liquid formulation was not registered for use to control snails and should be removed as a recommendation by the ministry.
“However, the ministry’s Research Division has been reviewing this pesticide, as its effectiveness in treating with adult and juvenile snails, as well as the eggs, has shown increased success in other areas across the world... we’re currently reviewing the success at our local Research Division. This is one of the most effective baits in the control of the Giant African snail,” Singh said.
“Accordingly, a request has been made to the board to review bait with the active ingredient Thiodicarb. The intent is to utilise bait with this active ingredient to control the snail population. We’ve written the board to have that incorporated in the ministry’s programme of dealing with the Giant African snails and are currently awaiting a response. As soon as we get clearance from the board, this bait will be incorporated in our programme.”
Alternative plans are also being developed for implementation within the coming weeks if the requisite approval is delayed or denied.
“The ministry continues monitoring the spread of this invasive species and will provide support to those areas afflicted in the coming weeks,” Singh added.
“This is one of the world’s most destructive pests and with the recent increase in rainfall in T&T, it’s the ambient conditions for its spread and multiplication. We intend coming up with strategies and continuing work we’ve been doing.”