How to limit pesticide use in vegetables
In addition to the pesticides that are sprayed to grow hybrid varieties of fruit and vegetables, chemicals are used to ripen, polish and preserve them. A study by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in 2013 found that most common food items contained banned pesticides and chemical residues in alarming quantities.
‘Farmers Must Opt for Bio-pesticides’
It is desirable to use an in tegrated pest management strategy (IPM) to manage pests -giving priority to non-chemical methods and to use chemical insecticides as a last resort.
Instead of spraying pesti cide all over cabbages to keep off moths, farmers can set up pheromone traps in the early stages. It helps monitor the activity of pests to better prepare for the coming days, and in mass-trapping male moths, it cuts their proliferation.
Spray bio-pesticides such as Bacillus, Beauveria, Trichoderma, neem products to control pests. These ensure that biological control agents like beneficial parasitoids and predators are not harmed.
Farmers must be made aware of the benefits of controlled use of chemical pesticides.
‘Always Go for Seasonal Vegetables’
Take efforts to know what grows in which season. Even vegetables are seasonal. For instance, watermelons are summer fruits and carrots grow in winter.
Make it a habit to always choose seasonal fruit and vegetables as they are less likely to be exposed to too much chemical treatment.
Avoid unseasonal fruits and vegetables.
Buy local varieties instead of exotic ones.
Choose smaller fruits and vegetables as they are less likely to be injected with growth hormones or other chemicals.
Avoid fruits and vegetables that are too dark. Pick the ones that have a natural lighter hue.
If you have a chance to taste a fruit before purchasing, avoid buying if it is unnaturally sweet.
Prasad BN, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Bangalore (Urban), said that the department was making efforts to promote biopesticides and biofertilisers and was discouraging use of chemical pesticides. “We have taken up clusters of 2-5 villages and introduced good production practices starting from seed treatment, use of bio inputs to maintaining proper spacing and plant population”, he said, adding that the use of ripening chambers were being promoted as a ..
Source: ECONOMIC TIMES