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National

May 18, 2018

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‘Excessive use of pesticides causing health, environment hazards’

FAISALABAD: The excessive use of pesticides on fruits, vegetables and crops is causing health and environment hazards, said University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Zafar.

Addressing an annual function of the Department of Entomology here, he said that chemical insecticides as predominant pest control measure were being used to fight the problems. He, however, said that the excessive use of pesticides had provoked different economic losses and hazards to human health. He was of the view that pesticides persisted in fruits and vegetables in the form of residues. Unfortunately, a very little effort had been done for the identification of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables, he added. He said that more than 50 per cent of marketed pesticides in the country were highly hazardous, causing skin and nervous system's toxicity. He said that drinking water, which contained pesticides, could be harmful, ranging from mild headache and skin allergy to cancer. He stressed the need to adopt the modern pest management technique for a healthy and food secure society. He said that amid the situation of climate changes, new diseases were breaking out in the agricultural produces. He said that keeping the situation in view, entomology had gained immense importance.

He said that the Department of Entomology would be elevated to the institute level to fight the challenges and to increase the agriculture production. He praised the Entomology Department for conducting a survey on the directives of the Punjab government in the cotton belt regarding record decline in cotton production in 2015. He said that it was a matter of pride for the university that the Entomology Department had won two projects on pink bollworm and whitefly from the PARB.

Department of Entomology Chairman Dr Muhammad Jalal Arif said that the department was running multiple national and international projects. He said that Australia had developed a national fruit fly management plan. He said that we have to meet the international standards, like ISO, to export fruits. He said that entomology had developed the protocol to determine maximum residual limits (MRL) for the Punjab government for registration of new pesticides. He said that use of pesticides had increased manifold in the last 20 years. The trend must be curtailed and replaced with IPM, he added. He called for using the latest approaches in the production, post-harvest management, processing and marketing systems.

Call for doubling membership: Faisalabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FWCCI) president Robina Amjad Thursday said the membership of the FWCCI should be doubled to enhance its effectiveness in resolving problems of female entrepreneurs.

Chairing the Executive Committee meeting of the FWCCI, Robina said Faisalabad was a major industrial and business hub of the country and a large number of women were still unaware of the importance of the FWCCI. She stressed the need of approaching every female entrepreneur to bring them in the fold of the FWCCI.

She said the FWCCI was a recognized platform licensed by the Director General of Trade Organisations (DGTO) and it was also affiliated with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI). Robina advised the Executive Committee members to voluntarily fix its membership target and try to achieve it as early as possible.

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