Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 12am

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    Tuesday, October 17, 2017-6:46:30A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Food protectors in your own backyard

IN many Pacific Island countries and territories, the use of chemical pesticides is a grave concern.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Pacific island stakeholders have conducted workshops to address the adverse impacts of pesticides which range from contamination of natural resources to increased incidence of pesticide poisoning.

Of particular concern is the use of highly hazardous pesticides, and the overall poor management of pesticide products.

Many farmers are now using natural pesticides that are environment friendly. Garlic, for example, is well-known for its pungent aroma which is delectable to some and yet repellent to others. It is this strong scent that comes into play when used as a natural insecticide.

Oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree is also a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg) which makes it a great resource for the organic gardener.

Like garlic spray, chili pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chili spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chili pepper powder.

Tomato plants are also part of the nightshade family, and as such, contain alkaloids such as the aptly named “tomatine” which can effectively control aphids and other insects.

Another significant natural pesticide is lavender which is grown mainly for oil production. This has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used as a natural mosquito repellent. The extracts are also used as fragrances for bath products. Lavender has proven to be very good at protecting itself through the production of antimicrobial and anti-fungal biochemical compounds.

Local farmers interviewed by this writer said they now avoid using chemical herbicides or pesticides. One of them said: “This method is becoming less and less desirable as many of the pests and fungi have become resilient to the chemicals, and consumers now prefer food that is untreated or treated with ‘natural’ pesticides.”