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Indian foreign minister Swaraj in town

REPUBLICA ONLINE

KATHMANDU, July 25:
Indian Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj has arrived Kathmandu on a 3-day official Nepal visit on Friday evening.

Minister for Foreign Affair Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranajit Rae among other dignitaries welcomed minister Swaraj at Tribhuvan International Airport. [More]

  Pesticide residues in vegetables  
  BY ROSHANI DHAMALA  
 
How grave are the problems?

In recent times, the most shocking news that have been doing the rounds is that the most frequently consumed vegetables are inedible because of excessive pesticide residue limit in them. This was proven by multiple lab tests done by the Ministry of Agricultural Development, and a number of districts near Kathmandu Valley were blacklisted for supplying vegetables. Kavre, a neighboring district of Kathmandu, also made it into the list. Farmers, in order to increase production and their profit margin, were recklessly using pesticides in their crops without giving a second thought to its repercussions. But when local farmers and government bodies in Kavre were questioned, a new story came up – the problem lies not in the amount of pesticide used but in the way it has been used by farmers. Due to the lack of knowledge and training, farmers are in the dark about the waiting period (the time they are supposed to wait for after spraying pesticides and before harvesting crops) which seems to be the major culprit for the current mayhem.

Farmers not serious about waiting period


Kamal Prasad Bolakhe, a farmer in Panchkhal–6, does commercial farming in his 25 ropanis of ancestral land to support his joint family of 22 members. He harvests thrice in a year – rice, potato and vegetables are the major crops he grows. This year, the tomatoes in his field couldn’t grow up to his expectation. The reason was fungal infection in plants. Kamal then treated it with pesticides – something that everyone in that village regularly and routinely does. As a result, his tomatoes revived, became ripe, and were ready to be sold off. But in a hurry to sell them off, what Kamal rather conveniently chose to overlook was the fact that the tomatoes weren’t supposed to be harvested before at least seven days of pesticides spraying over them. But Kamal sold them immediately, after two days.

 
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