Pesticide residues found in vegetable and fruit samples: minister

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“Increasing internal production of pesticide-free vegetables is the only solution”

“Increasing internal production of pesticide-free vegetables is the only solution”

Samples of vegetables, fruits and spices collected from the open market during a six-month period from October 2021 to March 2022 showed the presence of pesticide residues, Agriculture Minister P Prasad said on Thursday, underscoring the need to remain vigilant in this regard strengthen consider.

Over 40% of the samples showed the presence of residues, Mr Prasad said speaking at a meet-the-press program organized by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists. While the problem is not limited to agricultural products imported from other states, the Ministry of Agriculture has brought it to the attention of neighboring states, including Tamil Nadu Prime Minister MK Stalin, he said.

Pesticide residues were detected in vegetables in 47% of the samples, while 44% of the fruit and spice samples also showed their presence, he said, citing the results of the tests conducted by the Kerala Agricultural University laboratory in Vellayani. The tests also included samples collected from farmers, organic product outlets and the Ministry of Agriculture’s Eco Shops.

“For open market vegetables, 100 of the 201 samples showed the presence of pesticide residues. Twelve out of 66 samples collected from farmers, nine out of 57 samples from eco shops and seven out of 35 samples collected from organic product outlets also tested positive for residues.

In OTC fruit, 13 out of 29 samples contained pesticide residues. Apples, grapes and the banana varieties Nendran, Rasakadali and Palayamkodan were most affected. However, no pesticide residues were found in any of the fruit samples collected from eco shops and other organic stores. Of 87 spice samples tested, 42 contained pesticide residues, he said. Their presence was highest in cardamom.

Increasing in-house production of pesticide-free vegetables and fruits is the only permanent solution to this problem, Mr Prasad said. As part of the “Njangalum Krishiyilekku” campaign, 25,642 “Krishkootams” were launched against the targeted 10,000. Of that, 80 percent will be focused on production, while the remaining 20 percent will be engaged in sourcing, processing, value creation and marketing, the minister said.

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