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Cabbage threat

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CABBAGE consumers in the country are being exposed to high doses of chemical pesticides.

To address the issue, a joint project by the Australian Government and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation is working out a strategy to reduce the amount of chemical pesticides used by farmers to control pests.

According to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, laboratory analysis showed increased traces of pesticides on vegetables.

Further investigations revealed farmers were spraying more chemical pesticides on a more frequent basis to combat an insect pest that had been infesting cabbage plants.

The revelation came at a pesticide forum attended by growers, pesticide retailers and agriculture officials earlier this month.

Fereti Atumurirava, SPC's integrated pest management officer said the concern was the increasing amount of chemicals being passed onto consumers.

"While spraying two to three times a week enables them to sell the crop, they forget the impact of increased chemical residue on consumers," he said.

"The key issue here is the reduction of pesticide use in vegetable production in order to make vegetables safe for human consumption and to protect the ecosystem.

"This can be done by introducing the insecticide resistant management strategy."

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the FAO is conducting awareness among farmers and introducing options for reducing chemical pesticide usage. The work is being done by SPC on the ground.

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