Farmers demand control over sales of pesticides


Jul 24, 2014-

Local farmers have demanded that the government control rampant sales of controversial pesticides being used in vegetable fields. They have also asked that stern action be taken against traders importing pesticides that have been banned as being hazardous to people’s health.

“Many retail shops selling agricultural inputs have been duping ignorant farmers,” said Bhojraj Pant, a local farmer. He charged that the shopkeepers were not well educated about the chemicals in their inventory.  “Shopkeep-ers who have received a short training course are selling strong pesticides to farmers.”

Loredine, DDT, Dieldrin, Lindane, Phosphamidon, Menocrotophos, Chlorden and Toxaphen are among the top selling pesticides which have been banned by the government. Farmers have accused retail stores of selling these illegal pesticides motivated by high profit margins.

Sabitri Lamichhane of Panchkhal said shopkeepers suggest a certain pesticide after asking the farmers about the disease affecting their vegetables. “I have been applying chemicals to my cowpea crop once a week and it is harvested a few days later,” she said. “Insects destroy the crop if pesticides are not used frequently,” she added.  

Meanwhile, agro input sellers have refuted charges that they have been selling illegal pesticides. “We have never sold banned chemicals to farmers,” said Saroj Sapkota, a local shopkeeper.

He accused farmers of lacking knowledge on the proper use of pesticides. However, Sapkota acknowledged that they had not been telling farmers how long they should wait before harvesting and selling their products after applying pesticides.

Sahadev Humagain, chief of the District Agriculture Office, said that lack of knowledge among farmers had frustrated their plans to minimise the use of pesticides. He added that an inadequate budget allocated by the government had also made their effort ineffective.

Meanwhile, chief district officer of Kavrepalanchok district Kedar Neupane said there was an urgent need to control excessive use of chemicals on farm products. “We have planned to conduct massive programmes to spread public awareness,” said Neupane. He added that they had planned to prepare a working guideline to increase public awareness against the use of pesticides.

Panchkhal, which lies 58 km to the east of the Kathmandu valley, is one of its main suppliers of vegetables with shipments amounting to Rs 1 billion annually. The District Administration Office and the District Agriculture Office here initiated action after local farm products sold at the Kalimati wholesale market in Kathm-andu were found to contain a large amount of pesticides.

A few days ago, the Rapid Pesticide Residue Analysis Laboratory in Kalimati revealed that vegetables from Panchkhal and Panauti were contaminated with pesticides.

Published: 25-07-2014 09:18

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