Pesticide residues on vegetables pose threat
Nellore: Abnormal use of pesticides on vegetables and leafy vegetables has been discouraging gourmets from consuming vegetables not only due to fear over chemical residues also because of chemical odour even after cooking. Vegetable growers have been applying pesticides despite advice by entomologists against the practice pointing to threat to health from chemical residuals.
Agriculture officials and scientists claim that they appeal to the farmers to reduce the use of pesticides pointing to the contamination of vegetable with toxic and health hazardous chemicals, but there is no change in their attitude. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist Dr B.S. Ramachandra Reddy said farmers need to be educated about different non-chemical control methods and encouraged to adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practice for reducing pesticide use.
He also underlined the need for in-depth research on non-chemical management of pests in vegetables wherein pest infestation is relatively high. He said use of bio-pesticides can greatly decrease the use of conventional (chemical) pesticides and there will not make any difference with respect to the level of crop yield. However, effective use of bio-pesticides demands understanding of a great deal about managing pests particularly by the end users, he noted.
Dr Rajasekhar, Principal Scientist, Entomology in the Rice Research Station functioning under NG Ranga Agriculture University at Nellore, attributed the situation to absence of any laws to prevent growers from excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides. Attributing the pesticide residues on the vegetables for daily harvesting, he advised people to soak the vegetables in salt water for a while before cooking to clear the pesticide residuals from the top layer.