In an exclusive interview with New Age senior staff correspondent Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan, the vice chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University Dr Kamal Uddin Ahamed talks about toxicity of pesticide and its threat to human health
The effects of residues of pesticides being indiscriminately used in Bangladesh for crop production became a cause of serious human health concern, noted agriculture scientist and vice-chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University Dr Kamal Uddin Ahamed.
Professor Kamal Uddin said that it was high time that the farmers, traders and consumers were made aware about the adverse effects of pesticide residues.
During the interview which took place at SAU’s administrative building, he called for educating farmers, the main users of pesticides, about judicious use of pesticides so that they understood the doses to be applied and about the harmful effects of pesticide residues.
Pesticide residues refer to the pesticides that may remain in food after they are applied to raise food crops.
In a pin-pointed analysis of the effects of pesticide residues, Kamal said that establishment of modern laboratories in Bangladesh became long overdue to enable farmers and the other stake holders learn about the adverse effects of pesticide residues from locations close to them.
He expressed concern over indiscriminate use of pesticides in Bangladesh for crop production as the practice was bound to leave serious adverse impact on human life.
He said that pesticide residues could cause liver dysfunction, kidney failure, skin problems, infertility and other serious problems for the consumers.
He underscored the need for serious research to access accurate analysis of pesticide residues effects on human health.
Kamal Uddin said that growing population pressure forced farmers to cultivate high yielding rice varieties to feed more people.
HYV rice yields up to 30 maunds of per bigha compared to seven or eight maunds yield from the traditional varieties.
Growing HYV rice requires more nutrients in the soil for which chemical fertilizers are used to supplement nutrients in cropland, he said.
He said pesticides were used to protect crops from pest attacks.
But excessive use of pesticides promoted by pesticide companies to increase sales could spell disasters for the consumers, he said.
He called for training farmers on proper pesticide use for which mobile apps could also be utilized.
He said that pesticide residues leave adverse impacts on environment, ecology and bio-diversity.
He said that the agriculturists groomed by the country’s agriculture universities serving in the rural areas should make the farmers aware about the adverse impacts of pesticides.
Kamal called for the introduction of genetic technology and integrated pest management to gradually reduce the use of pesticides by 80 per cent.
The available techniques for controlling individual insect pests are numerous. They are conveniently categorized in increasing order of complexity, as cultural, mechanical, physical, biological, chemical, genetic regulatory and biotechnological methods.
He said pesticide use could be slashed by 10 to 20 per cent by relying on the cultural method of Integrated Pest Management in which resistant varieties of domestic plants are grown by rotating crops.
The biological method of Integrated Pest Management could, he said, could reduce pesticide use by 40 to 60 per cent.
Organic farming could be an effective strategy to reduce pesticide use for crop production though it generates debates about its viability.
Born in Comilla on April 1, 1957, Kamal Uddin Ahamed was appointed vice chancellor of SAU on August 14, 2016. He was professor of botany at SAU. In 1981, his academic career began as lecturer of botany at Bangladesh Agriculture Institute, now SAU.
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