20% crops have pesticide residue in India
May. 23, 2011
India produces 85,000 tonnes of pesticides every year.
The pesticide endosulfan was recently banned by the government, but many other chemical pesticides continue to be used for a better, higher and quicker yield, as they prevent crops from being destroyed by pests.
Dr Padmaja Rambabu of the food and drug toxicology department and assistant director at the National Institute of Nutrition, says that as long as banned pesticides are produced by manufacturers and available in the market, farmers will continue to use them.
"Sometimes, pesticides like monocrotophos, which is banned for vegetables but recommended for other food crops, continues to be used even for vegetables in the absence of proper awareness among farmers and lack of fool-proof monitoring.”
Farmers don’t wear protective apparel to protect themselves from the toxic affects of the pesticides they use.
Ignorance causes many farmers to use more than the recommended amount in the hope that it will benefit the crops more.
Excessive use of pesticides means it can penetrate into fruits and vegetables. It also causes the pests to develop resistance, and geno-toxicity in the produce. Farmers are reluctant to use good agricultural practices like allowing the ‘safe period’.
Explains Dr Padmaja, “Certain vegetables, including tomatoes, cabbage, brinjal, green leafy vegetables and lady’s finger (okra) are prone to heavy pest infestation. Pesticides are used even post harvest. To dissipate the effects of the residue, vegetables like okra should not be sold in the market for a couple of weeks or so after harvesting. But agriculturalists, who are in a hurry to sell their products, often violate such practices.”
Source: Deccan Chronicle
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