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Pesticide use in commercial vegetable production in Nepal

Pesticide use in commercial vegetable production in Nepal

KHAT MANDU: Nepal is taking steps towards agricultural diversification and commercialization which has shown hopes for improvement of country’s economy, decreased unemployment and importation of agricultural products and increased women’s participation in contribution to national economy. But the commercialization has brought a serious threat along with it which is of major concern. The use of chemical pesticides in the commercialization pocket areas in overdose, unsafe and uncontrolled manner has not only invited the dangerous pest whose control is getting difficult but also has resulted to the serious health hazards in growers and consumers.  Kathmandu gets to enjoy not only a variety of seasonal vegetables but also the off season vegetable crops produced in the commercialization pocket areas surrounding it. The vegetable crops consumed here are made available from neighboring districts like Kavre, Makwanpur, Dhading and also from Bara, Parsa and Chitwan where 11 percent of the crops produced in those areas are utilized there and remaining 89 percent are produced targeting the Kathmandu market.  But in the name of commercial and off season crop production in those pocket areas there is being huge increase in use of pesticides that has brought huge negative impact on human health and environment.  Pesticides, the chemicals that are applied to control the pest is not a problem if applied in the recommended dose and correct application manner but the haphazard use of the pesticides in overdose without following any kinds of safety measures ( even basic) not giving priorities to the application manner and time of application and most importantly not waiting for  the period it should  be waited before being disposed to the market has brought environment and life of growers and consumers of these pocket areas and consumer’s area in danger. Also Pesticides trading in these areas are taken like normal trading of everyday supplies. The pesticides are being sold on groceries, liquor shops and agrovets and most of the sellers of pesticides are not trained professionals.

The key cause of the problem in these areas is that the farmers consider pesticide as a medicine not as a poison. Also they are aware about the pesticide harm but only in the surface level. Most of them spray pesticide unnecessarily just because other farmers in the society do it. They apply the pesticides in the higher dose than recommended because of the belief that the recommended dose will not be effective enough on pest. They believe on instant result and don’t think about long term harm as the pesticide applied field looks fertile and green. Only 67percent of the farmers have knowledge on the waiting period out of which only 46% of farmers wait for the time before they are supplied to markets.