Friday, January 2, 2015

What's the Deal About Pesticides?

We sometimes hear that way too much is used in Mauritius. And that doctors in Singapore know we are from that cute Indian Ocean island just by looking at our blood tests. Friends will often recommend that we don't buy vegetables which appear to have been photoshopped. Or that we wash them thoroughly. But is that all we can do?

I don't think so as we are aware that an overuse of these chemicals will have more people developing cancer. And ruin our habitat. It shouldn't be difficult to at least have an audit trail. And start producing great vegetables on an appropriate scale. That will not hurt our trade relationships with the rest of the world.

Any thoughts on this?

20 comments:

Sunghoon Kreepalloo said...

Good thought.Compared to other countries within our range, we are still moderate. But this doesn't mean that we should continue! We are already self sufficient, as per market demand, in green vegetable. What we need is consumer awareness and education; it is the demands that direct the production. When the general consumer asks and only pays for good products and traceable commodities, the growers will, no doubt, have to satisfy his exigencies . But we must not forget we are in Mauritius and housewives have very limited budgets for greens. Our R&D departments should try to come up with means to produce more safe vegetables at reasonable cost. Our consumption is 208g/person it ought to have been 600g.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Kreepallo, thanks for dropping by. Would you have the data on pesticide use for Mauritius and countries 'within our range' (whatever that means)?

IMO, vegetables producers can also produce better varieties and advertise their products. If word of mouth in such a small country as Mauritius has stopped working.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Shyam Surat updates us on the use of chemical products in agriculture, the vegetables market and his milk project.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

In India, your fruit bowl can make you sick. Shouldn't we track all the places our fruits here go through?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Is it that difficult and time-consuming to measure the level of pesticides in our vegetables and to survey its use on our island? Especially when there may be very serious health hazards involved?

akagugo said...

@ Sj of June 19, 2015 at 10:01 PM
"Dans le domaine, il y a beaucoup de on-dit. On dit que les agriculteurs utilisent trop de pesticides. On dit qu’ils font des cocktails de pesticides et on dit qu’ils vendent leurs légumes le lendemain avec le pesticide encore dessus. Mais en fait, qui est ce «on» ? Est-ce que c’est un agriculteur qui est montré du doigt, ou plusieurs ?"

Well, if the lady would climb down her ivory tower and pay a visit to the vegetable plantations found around, say, Midlands Dam she would be at a loss to count all the bottles of pesticides (the square ones, with all sorts of colourful warning signs) littering the whole place, scattered thoughout the plantations, rivulets and what not... Same thing can be seen around remote agricultural zones like Piton du Milieu, Mare aux Vacoas, Congomah, etc... The hearsay to which this lady refers to is based on actual first-hand experience of commoners who see things, but who are never made aware of how / where to report this misdeeds: report it to the Police, they pass you on to the Ministry of Environment, who passes you on to the Ministry of Agriculture, who passes you on to the Water Resources Unit, who asks you if you have proof of what you say, if you can pin-point the exact culprit(s), and if you have a "locus standi", to file a police complaint...
In any case, who cares? Who really cares?
Dodoland, dodoland...

akagugo said...

Ah, excuse this omission: the lady could be enlightened by this concept: permaculture. Or is it that their close friends from the MCIA are too tightly linked with / dependent upon the likes of MCFI...?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

@akagugo
Quite a depressing interview indeed. Might have been better to spend the energy and time setting up a meeting with stakeholders with only one item on the agenda: getting to the bottom of this pesticide thingy.

Should involve the standards bureau with this. Ministries of Health and Agriculture can also do spot checks and if there's too much pesticides or they've seen something funny seize the vegetables and destroy them. We need to educate our farmers too. There is a price to pay for quality.

Yep, this permaculture business boils down to listening to what spaceship earth is telling us.

Btw, you might want to take pictures of the stuff you see and place them in a flickr or picassa account. And provide us with the links. We need more debate on this and other stuff.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

I was reading this ad from Jardins de Medine on FB about its '100% natural' lettuce. It's quite refreshing to see that of the 43 comments that were made 9 asked questions about pesticides or made a related comment. So we're talking 20% of the comments here. A good start but we need to bring this issue on the front burner. To burn the national torpor.

Jardins de Medine didn't reply to these FB questions/comments yet.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Good move but we need to have this on a much larger scale. Fast.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Plant microbiome could be quite useful to us.

Anonymous said...

If the Singapore story is true, then we must be concerned. It is not difficult to measure the levels of pesticides in food. Simple chemical analysis. But these must be done in alignment with international standards. We should promote more composting and recycling of organic wast to generate natural fertilizers ... need political will again! FM

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

What about the cumulative effect of eating vegetables and fruits that all contain some pesticides? And how a cocktail of these substances interact?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

What Trump will actually do might be quite different from what he promised on his way to the White House. As this nyt article reports he wanted to scrap the FDA's food police at one time. But then, thank god, he changed his mind.

Americans of all stripes agree that it's fine for the State to oversee how food should be produced. And what about Mauritius? With all the food poising that we hear for example involving kebabs?

Might be quite informative to have a chart about that.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

The damage done by industrial agriculture.

Anonymous said...

While we are discussing cancer-causing agents,you may also wish to know that Ajinomoto which was banned in our country mid last year(http://www.lemauricien.com/article/alimentation-interdit-sur-marche-local-limportateur-lajinomoto-demande-au-gouvernement-revoi)is freely available for sale on supermarket shelves.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

What happened when a country abandoned the use of pesticides.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Shouldn't we get more effective like Vani who didn't want part of her yoga mat to appear in her sandwich?

akagugo said...

What about the consumer goods that are passed off as normal these days: an example of how it impacts things which we take for granted.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

The Dutch will now test chicken for fipronil contamination.

Is our food tested regularly enough for pesticides and other harmful substances?