Back yard farming

Spencer Robinson, Suva | Thursday, January 18, 2018
Now and then, we get reminded by our concerned friends or family members, who are supposedly "health conscious" by drilling into our brains to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables that are available in our local municipal markets.

Unfortunately, the big question that comes into our mind is — how safe are these fruits and vegetables sold in our markets?

The increase in population translates into finding innovative ways to increase crop production.

This has seen the vast use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers to realise this production increase to cater for the growing population.

Successive use of pesticides in particular has contaminated our soils leaving behind toxic chemical residues.

In addition, these pesticides also get absorbed by crops accumulating harmful chemical residual components.

This risk to human health becomes even worse if farmers do not follow instructions for pesticide use, particularly its "withholding period" (WHP).

The WHP is the time frame or period that must pass between the last application of pesticide/chemicals on crops before it can be harvested for human consumption.

One may wonder, if the increase of diseases such as "cancer" could be related to the consumption of fruits and vegetables treated with these toxic chemicals (pesticides).

According to the Victoria (Australia) Agriculture website "the WHP on a label is designed to ensure that food and fibre derived from treated animals and crops complies with the maximum residue limits (MRLs) set by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

The WHP statements on labels aim to ensure that agricultural produce treated with agvet chemicals meets the standards set by FSANZ, and that the food we eat and the fibre we wear does not contain unacceptable agvet chemical residues."

All in all, the best way to ensure that we consume chemical-free fruits and vegetable is to start digging garden plots at our backyard.

Backyard gardening is a form of "organic farming" if chemicals are not used.

Apart from providing healthy and safe produce for the table it also provides a means of "exercise" through daily gardening activities.

Remember that "prevention is better than cure".

Home | Top