KATHMANDU, MAY 03
Nepal is a landlocked country and heavily dependent on its agricultural farms. Still now, more than 60 percent of its population is engaged in agriculture, which, however, has not been able to fully feed the people and contribute towards its gross economy.
Once an exporter of rice, Nepal is now heavily importing rice from neighbouring and other friendly countries every year.
Not only this, the import of other foodstuffs is also increasing day by day mainly due to an increase in population and disappearance of agricultural land owing to massive unplanned urbanisation. In order to augment agricultural production, there has been growing concern over the commercialisation of agriculture in different parts of the country in recent years.
In fact, the rapid commercialisation of the agricultural sector has been the main factor in the heavy use of pesticides in the country. In addition, the dual policy of the government of allowing the import of pesticides on the one hand and attempting to discourage their use on the other has been a major problem for pesticide control.
It seems natural for the farmers to increase their agricultural production; however, overdoses and haphazard use of pesticides for better output have equally harmed and affected theirs and the consumers' health.
Apart from these, there have been increasing cases of pesticides-related suicides in the country, which can be prevented and minimised if only the government and its concerned authorities became serious about this fact as soon as possible.
Overuse of pesticides and harmful chemicals in fruits and vegetables has posed a serious risk to health.
Only a few years ago, some farmers using them were diagnosed with cancer at the free health camps organised by Nepal Cancer Relief Society in some districts. The doctors, who were present in these districts, opined that the increasing number of cancer patients could be traced to the excessive use of pesticides in farm products without taking any precaution.
This situation can also be easily imagined in the other districts of the country.
But the concerned authorities have not paid much attention to this fact till now even though the number of patients is increasing every year in this country.
Although "No Pesticide Use Week" is celebrated here once a year, it makes little sense unless the government, private sector and the literate elite put massive efforts in raising awareness among the farmers about the harmful effects of pesticides.
A version of this article appears in the print on May 4, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.