LETTERS: Pesticide blues
Apropos of your editorial, “Pesticides kill” (THT, February 27, Page 8), Nepalis of salt-of-the-earth background are one of the smartest people in the world, not just in the country. Most farmers and the vendors even without kindergarten schooling are aware what pesticides can do to human body.
That is the reason “the Kalimati-based lab failed to function due to fierce opposition”. The lab can easily track the quantity of pesticides which will render their produce inedible. Even the vendors, who occupy footpath as a matter of their right to livelihood, and the mobile cart and cycle fruits and vegetables vendors are fully aware what pesticides can do to human bodies.
If anyone cares to speak to them they will tell you eating pesticides-soaked veggies and fruits can give us even cancer, diabetes, damage our kidneys etc. But they will exonerate themselves from any wrongdoing as they are just selling the farmers’ products, which is true. So, the panacea is not only to educate the farmers about the irreversible damages pesticides can do to human health from continuous consumption of toxic food but also to put in place severe punishment for happily spraying pesticides over and above the WHO limit.
If and when the government does this, we can expect more private farmers to leave for migrant labour as they may not be too keen on working hard for lower profit by embracing organic farming. For the consumers, pesticide-free food will mean luxurious indulgences as prices will go beyond their reach. Some of us have lived through this, paying eight hundred rupees for a red local rooster in Lagtang in the late 1970s or quarrelling with our siblings for a bigger share of an egg while we were growing up in heavenly Kathmandu. Most families could not afford local--they were all local, organic food then--eggs in the late sixties.
The solution to the pesticide problem cannot be tackled unless the government comes up with big food cooperatives. Individual farmers, especially small ones, could not care less about health hazards when they are struggling with their own demon: poverty.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
This is with reference to the article “Oli’s return to power: Time to deliver on promises” (THT, February 23, Page 8).
It is politically and diplomatically challenging time for KP Oli to act more courageously and honestly. Leader must not be like a paper tiger when it comes to dealing with neighbouring countries India and China.
The growing nepotism and corruption should be wiped out from top to the grassroots level. Oli should now act pragmatically, not idiomatically. Oli must identify some of the areas from where he will start generating employment opportunities. He had made a lot of promises during the election campaigns.
Although it will be difficult to fulfil all the promises that he made during the campaigns, he should at least start some big infrastructure projects that will keep hope of the people.
Shiva Neupane, Melbourne