The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) recommends that the Agriculture Department and related agencies to intensify the use of biological methods for farmers to control the threat of pests in paddy cultivation.
Biological control is beneficial in the long run. In addition, farmers do not have to spend money to purchase pesticides and prevent exposure to health problems associated with pesticide use.
Commenting on an article published in a local newspaper (Berita Harian: July 18, 2016) about the brown planthopper attack in the paddy fields in Bagan Serai, Perak recently, CAP is concerned the use of excessive pesticides by farmers here to overcome the threat will have adverse effects on the environment and their health.
CAP learned that farmers who are facing the threat of pests such as brown planthopper, golden apple snails, rodents and caterpillars not only use pesticides recommended by the Department of Agriculture or the relevant agencies but are also using highly toxic pesticides that are banned in the country.
The effects of excessive use of pesticides that are highly toxic have been well documented and besides this it also causes pests to become resistant and difficult to eradicate in the future. At the same time these toxic ingredients also kill other beneficiary insects that are known as farmers’ friends such as frogs, dragonflies, grasshoppers, spiders and others that can help farmers to kill pests in the early stages of reproduction.
In our surveys, CAP found that although many types of pesticides have been introduced over the past 20 years to prevent pest attacks in rice growing areas in the country, the situation has yet to change and in fact has become more serious.
The affected farmers have suffered losses amounting to thousands of ringgit each planting season and if the situation persists, it can threaten our food supply and the future of our agriculture sector.
Thus CAP calls on the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Department of Agriculture and related agencies to conduct more awareness programmes for farmers to impart to them the adverse effects of pesticides and the advantages of biological methods to control pests that threaten rice crops.
Media Statement, 25 July 2016