Kathmandu, November 18
The Department of Food, Technology and Quality Control (DoFTQC) is preparing to begin pesticide testing on imported fruits and vegetables at 12 entry points.
As the department has set up its new divisional offices outside the Valley, it has planned to start pesticide testing for the convenience of importers. According to Mohan Krishna Maharjan, spokesperson for DoFTQC, there are nine divisional offices at entry points linked with India and two offices at entry points linked with China.
Likewise, one new divisional office has been set up at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) as well. “We have added our 12 new divisional offices from last year so we have come up with the plan to provide pesticide testing service from those offices,” he said. “This is just another step of DoFTQC to build the department’s capacity of service expansion.” He further said that the tender process has been called for the installation of pesticide testing equipment.
As per him, importers will not have to conduct pesticide testing again in Kathmandu after having the tests done in these entry points. The pesticide testing instruments will be installed at DoFTQC divisional offices at Kakarbhitta, Biratnagar, Mahottari, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Krishnanagar, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi and Mahendranagar that lie along the southern border. Likewise, on the border with China instruments will be installed at Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani entry points.
Currently, DoFTQC is testing pesticides from entry points of Birtamode, Sarlahi, Pokhara, Butwal, Nepalgunj, Attariya and Kathmandu. According to Maharjan, the new divisional offices will be testing organophosphate and carbonate pesticides on imported fruits and vegetables similar to the existing testing laboratories. He further said that the divisional offices will also check pesticides on fruits and vegetables being exported from the country. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has also allocated Rs 150 million to establish three separate pesticide-testing laboratories outside the Valley. Considering the consumers’ right to have healthy food, the ministry is gearing up to set up pesticide-testing laboratories outside the Valley as well.
A version of this article appears in print on November 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.