“Pesticide use in dragon farming poses health risk”

Published : 02 Dec 2023 08:33 PM

When the government is committed to ensuring adulterated and chemical-free fruits for making a healthy nation, a section of farmers being instigated by some of the dishonest chemical fertilizer and pesticides sellers have been allegedly applying hazardous chemical to increase the yield of most popular dragon fruits. 

It has become a serious threat to human health. The officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) have been motivating the dragon growing farmers to avoid the same and to produce the fruit naturally, said the DAE office sources in Jhenaidah.

When this correspondent visited a number of fruit markets in Jhenaidah, talked to the retail fruit vendors. They said as the season of naturally produced Dragon ended, only chemically developed fruits are selling in the market at Tk 200 per kilogram. These varieties contain green and red or excessive red in colour, while the naturally grown fruit contains regular red in colour.

When contacted DAE deputy director of Jhenaidah Khamarbari Asgar Ali said earlier some of the fruit producing farmers allegedly had been applying date expired and ban items Tonic produced in neighboring country to make the fruits in abnormally larger in size and increase weight. 

As some of the pesticide manufacturing companies have been marketing the same namely Planofix in our country, the fruit producers have been applying it for excessive quantity of profit. It has been making the size and weight of the fruits larger. The taste and flavour of such dragon was not suitable like ordinary ones.

The agricultural expert said usually this kind of liquid substances are applied before flowering and fruit bearing stage to make the palnts almost healthy. The farmers were advised to apply the minimum portion of the substance when the plants do not contain any flower and fruit only.  

A dragon produced in natural farming gets the weight for 350 grams to 400 grams, while the same produced with Planofix stands at one kilogram and above which was almost five to six times larger in size. It has been leaning the farmers to apply the unethical medicine on the dragon plots. Further, it has been creating health hazard like intestinal diseases, the DAE deputy director said. 

“We had requested the scientists of regional agricultural research institute (RARS) of Bangladesh Agricultural Institute (BARI) at Jashore to conduct research on the chemically developed dragon, but failed. Now we have been contacting the BARI authorities at Gazipur for the research on the fruits and the chemical used for. Until and unless they are receiving the taste results, cannot take action against any company, fruit vendor or dealer”, Asgar Ali said.

Considering the health and hygiene of the people, they have organized awareness meeting with the dragon producing farmers involved in farming the fruit on 1,000 hectares of land in the district. They (farmers) had assured me of refraining application of the planofix for some days, while most of them have been doing the opposite work. DAE deputy director Asgar Ali said.