Urban ‘farmers’ warned on pesticides

Bengaluru: With more and more City folk taking to farming on terraces, balconies and other available homely spaces in the City, the Department of Agriculture is hosting a series of workshops to educate these urban ‘farmers’ on the harmful effects of pesticides.

A workshop by the department was conducted on Wednesday in Jayanagar 4th Block to bring about awareness on organic farming and how to avoid using harmful pesticides for a healthy produce.

The workshop focused on urban ‘farmers’ primarily, but a number of rural farmers who use pesticides on a large scale were also invited. Nowadays, farmers growing fruits like mango, chikoo, guava, etc., on the fringes of the City are tempted to use harmful pesticides.

For instance, Carbide gas and ethylene gas are used to stimulate the fruit ripening hormones and for vegetables deadly chemicals like Lindane, Malathion, Atrazine, Fenthion and Sodium Cyanide which are banned all over the world are still being used in India. Sodium cyanide is the most commonly used and is the most harmful, as it flows into groundwater and other water bodies nearby.

The workshop encouraged increased farming of fruits and vegetables at home but prescribed the organic route for the urbanites. Going organic would preserve the ecological balance and protect the environment, the farmers were told.

The farmers from the outskirts, on their part, cited the issues they face like shuffling crops, late bloom of produce, and the need to the city’s demands and have a steady stream of revenue if they went organic.

Director of Agriculture, Dr.H.Subaiah said: “The Department of Agriculture has been created mainly to provide agricultural services to farmers and to transfer the latest technical knowledge to the farming community. But extending the services to citizens and encouraging them to start organic farming at home was a delight. The response was over whelming.”

Sangeetha Kumari, a participant, said, “I’ve been doing organic farming at home from past 5 years. The food we grow ourselves is safe, free of chemicals and healthy. We make use of our dry kitchen waste as compost at times, which enhances the fertility of the soil.”

More such workshops are planned across the City in the coming months.




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