About 70 per cent of food in Serbia is sprayed with various chemicals. Experts say apples, for example, are sprayed more than 16 times, while the world standard is three times.
However, things are changing since our farmers will have to undergo specialized training in reference to the use of pesticides and receive a certificate at the end of the training.
Assistant Director of the Plant Protection Institute, Nenad Trkulja, says that farmers should be educated as much as possible about the means of protection.
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In addition to education, fruit and vegetable producers should be provided with a complete service so that we can claim from them a completely health-safe product, ” Trkulja added.
“If we, i.e. the state authorities and society, do not think that education about the use of chemicals in agriculture is important then the producers won’t be able to ascertain what quantities to use in plant protection and what is a safe and healthy threshold,” said Trkulja.
The use of pesticides, he notes, is a very delicate and sensitive thing, especially due to climate change, because pathogens, that is the pests, have moved into our region. The problem is also their resistance due to long-term overuse of pesticides.
“Many products are losing their efficiency. In some cases, product efficiency is completely lost. Under such conditions, the approach to combating harmful organisms in plant protection should be completely changed, and both the state and society need to step in and help,” Trkulja said.
Trkulja points out that the pesticide market is very profitable and that there are 800 registered pesticides in Serbia.
Asked if people can recognize which fruits and vegetables are safe to eat, Trkulja says that that is not possible.
“An untrained person cannot see pesticide residues on fruit on the basis of the appearance of the fruit. This requires controls and very sensitive analyses that show the remains of individual pesticides. One cannot see with the plain eye when buying produce in shops or outdoor markets,” Trkulja said.
Washing fruits and vegetables cannot help if pesticide residues are inside the fruit, but if the pesticide residues are on the surface, then thoroughly washing them does help.
It’s all about spraying, and the most treated produce is berries (particularly strawberries) and cherries.
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