KATHMANDU, July 3: Hundreds of trucks carrying vegetables and fruits that enter Nepal are stopped in custom points in course of testing vegetables if they have traces of pesticide that exceed safety limits.
This common event has drawn the attention of the general public to how vegetables sold at Kalimati Vegetables Market are tested. Vegetables and fruits that are sold in Kalimati are regularly tested in a laboratory to identify the amount of pesticide contained in them.
According to Senior Crops Conservation Officer Rajibdas Rajbhandari, vegetables are classified into three categories based on the amount of pesticide they contain-red, yellow, and green vegetables.
Edible vegetables fall under ‘green vegetables ‘and non-edible ones under ‘red vegetables’. Yellow vegetables refer to the vegetables that turn out to be edible after being tested after a few days.
Green vegetables contain less than 35 percent pesticide whereas red vegetables contain more than 45 percent pesticide. And, the percentage of pesticide contained in yellow vegetables range between 35 and 45.
Spokesperson at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Development Committee Binaya Shrestha informed that they have not found red vegetables in Kalimati for the last few months.
“When we find vegetables that have traces of pesticide, we act very carefully to ensure that people avoid consuming them. But our laboratory report shows that we have not found red vegetables over the last few months”, said Shrestha.
The government has banned the use of 21 pesticides in the country. According to the test conducted by the Kalimati-based laboratory, red or inedible vegetables have been found 66 times in Kalimati Vegetables Market over the five years. Likewise, yellow vegetables have been found 37 times.