PESTICIDE APPLICATION IN VEGETABLES

Introduction 

Pesticide is a chemical or substance or biological agent (such as a virus bacterium or fungus) that deters, kills, controls or destroys certain forms of plants or animals considered dangerous. The term “cide” comes from the Latin word meaning “to kill”. Pesticides also are called Plant Protection Product (PPP), consisting of an active ingredient called “active substance”, which aims to take action against pests and plant diseases.

Why pesticides application? 

Pesticides relate well with vegetables, and their use in vegetable production can dramatically increase crop production and ensure a higher quality of produce in meeting the needs of the customer. Pesticides are mainly designed to perform a specific function. Generally, they protect vegetables from harmful or toxic organisms by killing or preventing the organism from causing harm. Pesticides also enhance the natural capacity of vegetables to defend themselves/fight against these toxic organisms, eradicating the competing plants or hosts.

 

When do pesticides application become poisonous in vegetable production?  

Most farmers are much concerned with the yield and quality of vegetables at harvest. Therefore, in their quest to meet market demand and achieve profits, thereby resulting in wrong pesticide application. Some of these improper application methods can be a result of timing. Farmers do not consider the residual effect and time of application as a necessity. This is especially when vegetables are close to maturity and harvest, and unfortunately it encounters attack by a pest or disease or when there are good prices for the produce. They are tossed between waiting to harvest later to reduce the residual effect or to market the produce at a high price. Most of them cannot compromise the waiting period to lose the produce at harvest or sell at a low price. Another procedure usually ignored is the quantity of pesticide required to be applied. When a farmer wants results faster in solving pest outbreaks on the field, he/she takes more than the approved quantity required leading to an overdose. All these unaware and ignored acts cause vegetables to have more pesticide residual effects even after washing them with fresh water. Thus, consumers are at a higher risk when they consume  crops contaminated with pesticide residues.

Amidst all these said,  what remains unanswered is, “Is pesticide application useful in vegetables? Undoubtedly, we can surely say that it has helped so much in controlling crop pests, increasing yield, reducing post-harvest losses and contributing to food security. We need to understand that the most considerable risk to our health is not eating vegetables at all. However, we must be conscious of pesticides application and strictly follow the guidelines of its application.

RUTH OBUO KUSI

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