Most developing countries in the Asian and Pacific (ASPAC) region have small farms, where marketing and distribution especially of fruits and vegetables are usually completed in only one or two days after harvest. Small-scale farmers, especially in tropical and subtropical climates where many insect and disease problems prevail, have also become heavily dependent on chemical pesticide usage, mixing and spraying pesticides considerably making residue control an almost impossible task. Chemical analysis to monitor pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables is the standard and most accurate method used worldwide, especially in many developed countries such as the US and Japan. However, in most developing countries in the ASPAC region where domestic production and marketing by small-scale farmers is common, one low-cost alternative to achieve quick test results in order to protect local consumers from contaminated fruits and vegetables is the Rapid Bioassay of Pesticide Residues (RBPR).
RBPR was developed in Taiwan in 1985 and has since been successfully adopted by more than 200 stations in the island covering farmer associations, various food supply systems, and major supermarket chains. While bioassay is not as precise as chemical testing, it is low cost and gives immediate results, and is practical for use in screening large samples so that contaminated produce can be withdrawn from the farm gate or local market before they reach the consumers.
This training course aims to equip researchers, laboratory technicians, inspection officers, and extension workers in the ASPAC region with a working knowledge of the RBPR as a rapid testing/screening tool for pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables. The training course will be held at the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) in Taiwan, where the trainees will undergo intensive lectures and hands-on experience of the RBPR technique, and on-site visits to rapid bioassay stations for technical orientation.