Farmers’ chemical use lost in translation

The government isn’t doing enough to monitor chemical use by non-English speaking background farmers, according to a UTS study. Photo: Amy Rathbone.

The government isn’t providing the resources farmers from non-English speaking backgrounds need to safely use pesticides, according to a University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) study.

Organising bilingual resources and extension officers isn’t a government priority.

But poor chemical-use has the potential to pollute the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, which supplies Sydney with drinking water, food and a place for recreation.

Amy Rathbone reports.

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3 responses to “Farmers’ chemical use lost in translation

  1. I’d like to see some evidence supporting your claim that all these farmers either don’t speak or English, or know what they’re doing at all. Pretty bold claim.

    • Hi Nathan,

      Here’s a link to a thorough study on Sydney’s farmers from non-English speaking backgrounds: https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/downloads/00-180. On page 65 there’s a stat that 69 per cent of growers could not read the instructions on chemical labels. On page 69, the report says: “Contrary to the stereotypes, most growers have not come from an agricultural background, although most have come from a rural background. Vietnamese growers however, included a majority from urban backgrounds. Some growers have come from agricultural backgrounds, but except for Maltese growers that experience is not relevant to Australian conditions.”

      If you want more reading:
      http://www.australianreview.net/journal/v2/n3/parker.pdf
      – ausveg.com.au/intranet/technical-insights/…/VG06066_complete.pdf

      Of course, the story is not about the farmers, it’s about a lack of government resources to support these farmers who face unique challenges when it comes to safe chemical use.

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