SCHOOLS engaged in farming are discouraged from using fertilizers and other pesticides.
Kastom Garden Association (KGA), a local non-government organisation established to promote organic farming, made the reminder when its staff visited two high schools and a rural training centre, east of Honiara yesterday.
KGA provincial coordinator Silas Kere visited St. Martin Rural Training Centre, St. Joseph’s Tenaru High School, and Betikama Adventist College.
The visits were made particularly to the school’s farms.
Mr Kere said while fertilizers can enhance the growth of plants, it’s not safe for human consumption because of the high presence of chemicals in the plan.
“There is long term effect on our health if we continue to eat vegetables and crops that were grown using fertilizers,” Mr Kere said.
“Besides, the continuing use of fertilizers can lead to soil infertility.”
He added fertilizers are not only dangerous for food but also the safety of the living environment.
Mr Keresaid secondary students should learn organic farming technics during their agriculture classes so that they could apply them while out in the field.
According to Wikipedia, the impacts of chemical fertilizer on human health are:
· Chemical pesticides can have far-reaching effects on human health. They can contaminate the quality of surface water and groundwater, as well as cause toxicity within most individuals who consume pesticide-sprayed fruits and vegetables. Since most farmers use these fertilizers on their farm, animals receive first-hand exposure to these toxins–thus causing people who ingest non-organic meat products to experience pesticide toxicity, too.
· Chemical fertilizer is more “hygienic” because natural fertilizer can cause viruses or bacteria in plants which leads to disease in humans who eats them. It is also much cheaper than natural fertilizer. The use of chemical fertilizers has a great importance for the world’s food production and food prices. If we didn’t had the opportunity to use chemical fertilizers it would have been higher food prices. This would have affected poor people the most. Chemical fertilizers are very useful because it works as fast food for plants. They can absorb the nutrients immediately and the fertilizer works quickly. One of the benefits with chemical fertilizers is that it’s custom-made for our requirement. If the soil is rich in nitrogen and potassium, it will need a fertilizer that will take care of the lack of phosphorus. Chemical fertilizers give us the option of using phosphorus-rich fertilizers.
· The three main nutrients that plants needs supplies of are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). All fertilizers contain either one or more of these nutrients. Nitrogen makes sure that the plants evolve and lets the green parts grow. Phosphorus has a lot to say for the development of the root system and the plant quality. Big and strong roots provide a healthier and more resistant plant. Potassium is essential for the bud placement and fruit quality. Potassium also has much to say on the plants ability to endure the winter.
· The biggest issue facing the use of chemical fertilizers is groundwater contamination. Nitrogen fertilizers break down into nitrates and travel easily through the soil. Because it is water-soluble and can remain in groundwater for decades, the addition of more nitrogen over the years has an accumulative effect.
· Knowing and understanding the effects of chemical fertilizers don’t do us much good without action on our part. Knowing how to protect our health is what counts. If you’re on well-water have your water tested regularly by a reputable lab. Support organic and sustainable agriculture. Know your farm and your farmer and understand their practices. Take part in safeguarding organic practices and standards. Visit Organic Consumers for details. learn more about organic fertilizer for your own garden.
Kastom Garden staff took the field trip yesterday to check on communities and schools that they’ve supplied with planting materials after the April flooding in Honiara and Guadalcanal.
Moses Rouhana, KGA’s communication officer, said they will be going on same field trips to other provinces in the near future.
He said their first team to the province was deployed to the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal over the weekend.
By SOLOMON LOFANA