Kottayam: According to an alarming report, Keralites who are concerned about the pesticide residue in the vegetables brought from other states, have used a total of 888 tons of chemical pesticides and herbicides for farming in the previous year. Precisely, 8,88,760 kg chemical pesticides excluding chemical fertilisers were used in the agricultural fields of the state. Pesticides priced upto Rs 200 - 20,000 per kg are available in the markets in Kerala.
The assessment of the agriculture department for the previous financial year revealed the alarming rate of pesticide use in the state. The use of herbicides increased 71 percent more than previous year and touched 318.41 tons and the use of pesticides reached 570.29 tons. Chemical pesticides are used mostly in banana plantations followed by coconut and vegetable farming.
Majority of the herbicides used in the state are likely to cause serious diseases including cancer and genetic disorders, as shown in the studies. In addition to this, 1264 tons of organic pesticides were used in the farms. Though the increasing use of organic pesticide is a positive trend, there is no way to ensure the safety of the organic pesticides. Even the agriculture experts express their concerns whether chemical pesticides are sold under the label of organic.
Minister for Agriculture V. S. Sunil Kumar said that there is a tendency to use herbicide to destroy the weeds growing through the gaps between tiles paved in the yards in Kerala. This poisonous substance will reach even the well in the compound. People have to change their stand. Strict restrictions will be imposed on the sale of herbicides and pesticides. The sale and use of the most lethal herbicide Glyphosate will be regulated strictly, he added.
The amount of chemical pesticides used in each crops:
Banana – 156.64 tons
Coconut – 142.75 tons
Vegetables – 112.94 tons
Paddy – 71.33 tons
Spices – 66.12 tons
Areca nut – 20.05 tons