Pesticide mgmt project launched for public health

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KATHMANDU, APR 22 – The government has launched a two-year project which is aimed at improving the health condition of vegetable farmers and consumers through effective pesticides management.

Under the project titled ‘Strengthening pesticide management in agriculture to reduce risks to health and environment’, the Plant Protection Directorate (PPD) will work in four districts, identified based on high pesticide consumption and vegetable production rates, to improve the health status of the crop producers and the consumers.

PPD chief Dilli Ram Bhandari said excessive use of pesticides by commercial vegetable farmers has threatened public health. “Due to lack of knowledge and awareness among the farmers on the use of pesticides, both farmers and consumers are at high risk of suffering from various health hazards,” Bhandari said.

A study conducted by PPD in Kavre, Bara and Dhading districts had found that almost 63 percent of the farmers reported eye irritation, throat pain, headache, vomiting, nausea and fever, due to pesticide exposure.

The project worth $350,000 funded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation will be implemented in Kavre, Bara, Dhading and Kapilvastu. The government has also allocated $540,000 to establish lab facilities for pesticide residue analysis in six proposed lab sites—Kathmandu , Nepalgunj, Butwal, Pokhara, Chitwan and Biratnagar.

PPD has been involved in different activities focused on controlling production and sales of pesticide-laced produces inside Kathmandu since last year. Only Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market in Kathmandu test pesticide residue on vegetables and fruits.