BANEPA, Sept 23: The Agriculture Knowledge Center based in Dhulikhel has started to collect vegetable samples from Panchkhal and Kerabari areas for surprise test of pesticide levels.
“After the establishment of lab for the first time, we have collected random samples of fresh vegetables from Panchkhal and Kerabari for surprise test of levels of pesticide residue,” said Umesh Sapkota, laboratory chief at the knowledge center.
The center has collected and examined samples of tomato, brinjal, okra, beans, cucumber, snake gourd, luffa gourd, bitter gourd and other fifteen vegetables. Before this, vegetable samples had to be sent to the laboratory in Kathmandu’s Kalimati for test.
The pesticide residue test was done in accordance with the Working Procedure on Rapid Bioassay of Pesticide Residue 2075 BS, according to Sapkota. “We tested the collected samples, and found that the pesticide residue was within safety limits. At the lab, we are only able to test the residue of pesticide, not the amount of pesticide used.”
According to the working procedure, vegetables with 35 to 45 percent of ‘inhibition’ should be quarantined for 4-5 days. If it shows less than 35 percent of inhibition level upon re-testing, it will be safe for consumption. Vegetables with more than 45 percent of inhibition cannot be consumed and have to be destroyed.
The laboratory established in Dhulikhel has capacity to test eight to twelve samples of fresh vegetables in a day. However, it can test only pesticides belonging to the organophosphate and carbamate groups.
“Nala, Panauti, Namo Buddha, Temal, Mandan Deupur, and Bethanchowk areas are considered the pocket areas of vegetable production in the district. We are planning to conduct more surprise test by collecting random vegetable samples. We will also collect samples from the vegetable market of Banepa,” Sapkota added.
The Rapid Bioassay of Pesticide Residue (RBPR) Laboratory was established in Dhulikhel on September 1 to test pesticide residue in vegetables for the benefit of consumers. The Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperative of Province 3 has established such laboratories in Kavre, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Lalitpur, and Nuwakot districts.