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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Minister inspects Kalimati pesticide testing lab

Kathmandu, July 12

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Chakrapani Khanal inspected central pesticide testing laboratory located at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market today.

During the inspection, Minister Khanal said that consumers can consume imported vegetables without any fear of pesticides. “We don’t have a full-fledged pesticide testing laboratory, however we have been conducting pesticide tests regularly with the facilities that we do have and will continue to do so in the coming days,” he said.

The government had established the central pesticide laboratory in 2014 with the help of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Thereafter, the government established other laboratories in other provinces under the Project for Agriculture and Commercial Trade with the help of the World Bank. Except the central laboratory, the seven other laboratories in six provinces can test only two groups of pesticides.

Meanwhile, the central laboratory can test 169 groups of pesticides that include around 3,000 chemicals. Among them 33 per cent of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides are mostly found in imported vegetables and fruits and it is only these two pesticides that are tested at border areas.

“The issue is not about pesticides being used in vegetables or fruits, but the quantity that is used and its residue in the produce that is to be sold in the market. Currently, the government has banned 21 pesticide groups out of 169,” he added.

Minister Khanal further said that pesticides are used all over the world during farming of vegetables and fruits. “The only difference is that we are not much aware about its usage and side-effects,” he said, adding, “Since the pesticide issue has made headlines in recent years, customers are now more aware and learning about pesticides, which is a good outcome of all these controversies.”

When asked about India not allowing Nepali products to enter its market without a pesticide test, Minister Khanal said that it is an international practice that if the importer has any doubts about products then they can conduct a test as per their convenience. “So, that is what India is doing and what we did earlier. We have been asking all vehicles carrying vegetables to show us phytosanitary certificate. We allow only those that have the certificate to enter our market and halt those that don’t have it.”

According to FAO, phytosanitary certificates are issued to indicate that consignments of plants, plant products or other regulated articles meet specified phytosanitary import requirements and are in conformity with the certifying statement of the appropriate model certificate.

Meanwhile, Khanal also mentioned that the government has brought a policy of turning Nepali agricultural sector into organic, for which around Rs 540 million has been allocated for next fiscal year.


The post Minister inspects Kalimati pesticide testing lab appeared first on The Himalayan Times.

from Business – The Himalayan Times https://ift.tt/2jGRnOL

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