THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Keralites now remain largely ignorant of the pesticide content in vegetables and spices as the Kerala Agricultural University, Vellayani, has not been releasing the report of the Pesticide Residue Research and Analytical Laboratory (PRRAL) report for nearly a year.
During 2012-2018, 42 reports were released informing the people about the level of pesticides in vegetables, spices and condiments available in the state.
Hundreds of samples were examined at the PRRAL centre where the report is still being uploaded on www.kerala.gov.in website under 'general reports' pop-up window.
But Agriculture Minister V. S. Sunil Kumar does not want to create a panic about the pesticides. A senior agriculture department official told DC that there was a tug of war between the department and KAU.
"Earlier, a press release was issued by the KAU from Mannuthy regarding the pesticide residue report once in three months and annually.
But top KAU officials decided to issue reports once in six months which the media does not highlight," said the official.
Recently, a video released by a Malayali youth from Sundarapandiyapuram in Thenkashi in Tamil Nadu highlighted the workers spraying deadly pesticides in ladies finger and chilly farms.
Crows were seen lying dead in the farms where the vegetables are being harvested for the Onam market in Kerala.
A senior official of KAU told Deccan Chronicle that 2,500 tonnes (250 lorries) of vegetables were being brought to Kerala through 11 check posts daily. The minister's office said that 60- 65 percent of vegetables were being produced within the state.
"Only 35-40 percent of produce are being brought from neighbouring states. We get onion, shallot, potato, carrot and beetroot from across the border. The pesticide residue lab report is being brought out by KAU without fail and food safety department releases the pesticide residue report on condiments," said P. V. Manoj, the agriculture minister's private secretary....