Taking serious note of a report regarding excessive spraying of pesticides and insecticides on vegetable crops across the state, the Punjab government has decided to make farmers aware of the harmful results of the same.
According to information, an awareness drive will be conducted under the National Horticulture Mission to promote horticulture in the state as well as avoid unnecessary spraying of pesticides on vegetable crops.
Agriculture experts say judicious use of pesticides is necessary to achieve qualitative and sustainable crop yield, without harming the environment and human health.
India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world, next only to China, with an estimated annual production of about 73 million tonnes from an area of about 4.5 million hectares. With a cropped area of 3%, vegetables and fruits are sprayed with about 13% of the total pesticides in the country.
Farmers use pesticides frequently since pest infestation is relatively high in vegetable crops, particularly in chillies, cauliflower, brinjal and okra. The indiscriminate use of pesticides not only increases the cost of production, but also results in health problems and environmental pollution. High concentration of pesticide residues in the food chain, including cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products (including mother's milk), fish, poultry, meat products and water is a cause of concern.
Moga agriculture development officer (ADO) Jaswinder Singh Brar, who is a state award winner, said farmers should adopt new technologies to make farming scientific, profitable and eco-friendly. "Farmers should adopt the recommendations of the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana. They should not overspray or use pesticides which are not recommended," said the ADO.
Moga deputy commissioner Parminder Singh Gill said fruits and vegetables should be free of pesticide residue. "Farmers should know the type of pesticides to be used or they should take advice from agriculture experts," said Gill.