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Experts warn about the harmful effects of pesticides used fruits and vegetables

KATHMANDU: Experts have pointed out at alarming misuse of chemical pesticides in lack of awareness among the farmers.
Speaking at a science dialogue ‘Use of pesticides in fruits and vegetables: Problems and solutions’ organised by Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) at Kumaltar here on Wednesday, they stressed the need for generating awareness on the safe use of pesticide and the impact of pesticides on public health.
Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Dr. Yubak Dhoj GC said that the farmers were using both the known and unknown pesticides for increasing their farm yields.
“It has become a compulsion for the farmers to use pesticides after many diseases affect their crops. However, it is better to use bio-pesticides instead of chemical pesticides as the latter are not good for human health and our environment,” he said.
Use of chemical pesticides in Nepal is comparatively low, but the misuse and overuse of pesticides have been alarming in the areas where framing is done commercially, he said.
The ministry has taken an initiative to control the use of pesticide inside the country and discourage the farmers to use the chemical pesticides through lab tests of pesticides, he said.
He said that the government will set up labs in all the customs points to control the import of pesticide-lashed vegetables in the country.
Vice Chancellor of NAST Dr. Sunil Babu Shrestha said that the import of pesticide-lashed vegetables could fall if local production was boosted by adopting the new technologies.
“We can increase production by using technology in place of chemical pesticides,” he said.
Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Krishna Raj BC stressed the need of multi-stockholders’ efforts, including NAST, to reduce the use of pesticides in the vegetables. Presenting a paper on ‘Status of chemical pesticides use and their regulation in Nepal’ Chief of Plan Quarantine and Pesticides Management Centre Dr. Dilli Ram Sharma said almost 85 per cent pesticides imported to Nepal were being used in vegetable farming.
Around 396 grams pesticides were being used per hectare of land yearly in Nepal which was the lowest in Asia Pacific Region, he said.
Around 95 per cent farmers are using chemical pesticides, of them, 11 per cent are producing vegetables separately for trading and personal consumption, he said.
If the farmers use pesticides properly in their crops, it will not affect human health, he said.
“But now, the farmers are using it as medicine, this concept is wrong and it is affecting human health,” he said.
Stating that the import of pesticides rose to 635 tonnes last fiscal year from 56 tonnes the previous years, he said that the import of pesticides would increase with the expansion of vegetable farms.
Considering the misuse of pesticides and its harmful effect in nature, the government has imposed a ban on the import of around 21 pesticides so far, he said, adding that Nepal has registered 171 pesticides for import and use.
On the occasion, Dr. Sajan Lal Shyaula, senior scientists of NAST, presented a paper on available techniques and analyse the pesticide use.
“Pesticide test is not easy. But, the NAST can test pesticides by using available techniques,” he said.

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