Taiwan pesticide residue detection technique contributes to partner countries’ agricultural development
The Rapid Bioassay of Pesticide Residues (RBPR) system, developed by the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, is a low-cost, simple and rapid alternative to chemical analysis. Through projects implemented by the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF), this advanced technique has been extended to our partner countries St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Guatemala, and the excellent results have attracted wide attention from local governments and residents.St. Vincent and the Grenadines relies heavily on imported fresh fruit and vegetables, and local authorities lack the capacity to ensure food safety. The TaiwanICDF therefore implemented the Project for Strengthening Farmers’ Organizations and Improving Fruit and Vegetable Production Technology, using RBPR to assist the country in agricultural cargo inspection. To the end of 2016, the project has detected several imports with excessive pesticide residue and guaranteed the safety of agricultural products.In the Dominican Republic, the TaiwanICDF collaborated with the local government to implement the Health Management of Greenhouse Vegetables and Product Safety Inspection Project to assist in reducing the overuse of pesticides. Researchers from the Dominican Institute of Agriculture and Forestry Research (Instituto Dominicano de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales) were dispatched to Taiwan to receive training in RBPR. Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has expressed interest in purchasing portable pesticide residue detection equipment and supplies from Taiwan to further ensure the safety of the nation’s food.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, the country encountered challenges when hotels and restaurants refused to purchase vegetables and fruit from local farmers due to food safety and quality concerns. Through the Vegetable, Fruit and Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project, the TaiwanICDF introduced the RBPR program, established detection stations and provided guidance to farmers on pesticide management in both islands of St. Kitts and Nevis. After all of these efforts, the farmers were eventually able to access high-end markets, with 12.5 tons of local fruit and vegetables sold to hotels and restaurants in 2016, and two resorts switching to local produce as their main source of ingredients.As part of the Institutional Enforcement Project for Agribusiness, the TaiwanICDF dispatched experts from Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute to Guatemala to demonstrate the RBPR technique, which could significantly reduce the risk of suppliers having their export license revoked due to excessive levels of pesticide residue, with only a slight increase in costs. This technique has drawn local exporters’ attention and unexpectedly created licensing opportunities for Taiwanese technology companies. As a result, there were already exhibitors from Taiwan to promote the pesticide residue detection system at Agritrade 2016, the agricultural sector’s largest trade fair in Guatemala.The above examples show the numerous benefits of introducing the pesticide residue detection technology, developed in Taiwan, through agricultural assistance projects. Not only did the RBPR increase the added value of products but also brought new sales opportunities to project beneficiaries, at the same time, the benefits of the RBPR were extended from beneficiary farmers to the consumers, and the scope of projects were expanded from production to marketing.