‘Use standard pesticides to safeguard orchards’

Srinagar: As the valley gears up for crucial spraying schedules, farmers have urged authorities to ensure that only standardized pesticides are made available to protect their orchards from pests and diseases.

With Kashmir’s economy heavily reliant on its apple industry, which contributes significantly to the region’s GDP, the concerns of apple growers grow over the varieties of pesticides available in the market.

The demand for standardized pesticides stems from a growing apprehension among farmers regarding the efficacy and safety of the pesticides currently available in the market.

President North Kashmir Apple Growers Association Fayaz Ahmad Malik emphasized the critical need for quality control measures. “Our apples are not just fruits; they are a symbol of Kashmir’s identity and livelihood for thousands of families. It is imperative that we safeguard our orchards with pesticides that meet international standards,” he told KNO.

The call for standardized pesticides comes amidst reports of farmers experiencing inconsistent results due to the use of substandard chemicals.

“Many farmers have reported losses in previous seasons due to ineffective pest management despite investing heavily in pesticides. The availability of unregulated and counterfeit pesticides poses a significant risk not only to crop yields but also to human health and the environment,” Malik said.

The growers said they often get confused with rumours of fake and substandard pesticides availability in the market.

“For the last few days, social media has been abuzz with the availability of substandard pesticides in the markets. We appeal to the government to launch a massive drive against the substandard pesticide sellers to save our orchards,” said Munner Ahmad Khan, an apple grower.

Meanwhile officials at the horticulture department said they conduct regular market drives to root up the menace of substandard pesticides.

“Through our official website, we constantly recommend the growers’ spraying. We are also making use of the press and social media to generate awareness about genuine pesticides. Besides, our team conduct surprise drives to initiate action against the substandard pesticide sellers,” they said—(KNO)

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