Thus pesticides save eggplants, kill consumers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 21, 2008

Thus pesticides save eggplants, kill consumers

Aubergines are sprayed with pesticides after harvest to make those look fresh. This grower at Shahjahanpur upazila of Bogra knows that the insecticide is hazardous and covers his face with a towel.Photo: STAR

Pesticides are sprayed on eggplants growing in the northern and south-western region of the country over 100 times before it reaches the consumers.
Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogra in cooperation with Cabi-Bioscience, UK revealed the startling fact through their three-year "Plant Doctor" project.
Prof Mainul Hasan Sadik, head of the Medicine Department at Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital, Bogra, said aubergine contaminated by these pesticides may cause aplastic anaemia, leukemia, cancer and other diseases.
A research report said normally pesticides are sprayed 100-180 times on aubergine to protect them from insects and to keep them fresh. The research was conducted at Manirampur of Jessore, Nandigram and Shibganj of Bogra along with a number of other upazilas in the country.
Zabid Ali of Maria village in Shahjahanpur upazila of Bogra said he used to spray pesticides on his eggplant fields three-four times a week. "Normally, I use pesticides to kill insects and to keep aubergine fresh just before selling them in the market," he said.
He further told The Daily Star that usually he starts spaying pesticides in his field a few days after planting seedlings and continues until harvest, which takes about four months.
Agriculturist AKM Zakaria, Plant Doctor project coordinator and the joint-director of RDA, Bogra, said farmers use pesticides to protect eggplants from insects like "aubergine shoot and fruit borers" and to keep them fresh. "The amount of pesticides used varies on seasons and areas," Zakira added.
He said at least 250 varieties of pesticides, very much harmful to human health and environment, are being used in northern and south-western districts of the country to protect vegetables and crops like aubergine.
Prof M Bahadur Miah, head of the Department of Plant Pathology in Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU), Mymensingh, in his report "Integrated Management of Eggplant Cultivation-1" said that he found farmers of Jessore using pesticides 150 times from plantation to harvest.
AKM Zakaria said cultivation of garlic and turmeric alongside aubergine could prove effective in protecting aubergine from insects rather than using chemical pesticides. Wasps and black ants are natural protectors of aubergine, he said adding that it was learnt during research at Khatkatia village in Rangpur.

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