By Gavin

February 16th, 2010

3 Comments

Actually they don’t, and probably never did. This wonderful question is the result of a German to English Google translation of an article posted at presseportal.de. The story is of Dutch tomato growers who claim their tomatoes taste more like tomatoes when they are grown with biological methods – favouring natural predators to combat pests, over the use of pesticides.

The original article can be read here, and the Google translation can be braved here.

Staying with ‘biological’ pest management, an Israeli researcher is developing what is described as an ‘ecologically sound pesticide’ by modifying the venom of scorpions. It is claimed that certain neurotoxins present in the venom have the chemical properties to manage crop damaging pests, while posing no threats to useful pests such as bees, or mammals like you and I.

Pesticides are like medicines, they are used to treat ’sick’ plants, and prevent ’sickness’ in plants. As with medicines, you should always read the label. A well timed news story ‘Pesticides cause impotency if not properly handled‘ (posted on St. Valentines Day), reports on the potential dangers of failing to follow safety instructions. It seems that some farmers in Ghana have taken to tasting pesticides before use in order to reassure themselves of its potency! Without doubt, a practice entirely incompatible with the safe and sustainable use of pesticides. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and CropLife Africa Middle East made these revelations during a recent programme of workshops to train farmers and encourage the safe use of plant protection products.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) offers a wealth of information on good agricultural practices, including information on the sustainable and safe use of pesticides. Always read the label, and if in doubt, seek expert advice.

3 Comments

  1. Ahmad Mahdavi

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    More exposure of people to a wide variety of pesticides/ chemicals in developing countries compared to developed World.
    Due to the diverse numbers of pesticides/ chemicals which imported/ produced in developing countries and used without regulations and enforcement, now people in these countries are more exposed to these chemicals as compared to people in developed World. Many factors helped for this higher exposure, among them less knowledge and information about these dangerous compounds. The situation in these countries is quiet different than developed nations. In many of these developing countries there are no NGOs and community workers to make the people aware about their exposure to pesticides/ chemicals and consequences. Now in developed nations there are so many NGOs and local community workers which stand against these dangerous compounds and do not let the corporations follow only their profits. They fight for the right of people and especially for children and other more vulnerable groups. In developing countries now people and in particular children are open exposed to these wide range of pesticides/ chemicals not only through consumption of food but also through all their daily life and there are no alerting NGOs and agencies to protect them. During the past decade every year there were more than 25 million acute poisoning with only pesticides in agricultural workers of developing countries. The problem shows itself more clear when we realize that more pesticides are used in developed nations with too much lower numbers of acute poisonings. Now in many Asian countries there is daily increase of exposure to polluted rice (different heavy metals) and to polluted fish (Hg and other pollutants) and people have no other option because of hunger and ever increasing population. According to latest scientific documentations in pregnant mothers most of these dangerous compounds pass through placenta to the baby and are detected in the body of many newborn babies and female workers in rural areas are more exposed.
    Best regards,
    Ahmad Mahdavi, PhD, environmental toxicologist, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

  2. Gavin

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Thank you for your interesting comment, Ahmad. If you do have links to some of the studies that you mention, please post them here – I am sure they would be useful to readers of this blog.
    I’ll take this opportunity to re-link the FAO database on good agricultural practices – a useful resourcehttp://www.fao.org/prods/gap/home/database_en.htm

  3. Maritza van Assen

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Actually, the original article is a regular promotion story on Dutch glasshouse horticulture in a not too serious German magazine. But it is true, in the Netherlands glasshouse growers – especially growers of vegetables – are very advanced in applying biological control methods against insects. Also they now grow better varieties with more taste – so the products taste like tomatoes again -not of Holland again! However what is not in the promotion article is that also our “state of the art” glasshouse growers use pesticides. Less insecticides – that is true, but they do use fungicides to control and several diseases; they do use herbicides and other crop protection products for a “clean start” of the crop and they also use growth regulators. In my view the Dutch practice is state of the art and a good example of integrated crop management! And of course with an article in a German magazine we hope that many German people will keep on buying tomatoes from Holland.