Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Power of Consensus for Pesticide Safety

I realized today that intransigent stands by the pesticide industry ail the entire farming community.

The occasion was a pesticide safety meeting in Ambala, Haryana. The head of the local government hospital, the project coordinator of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, State Government officials, scientists, farmers, and agricultural laborers all got together to decide on a common plan of action. 

We will meet again on October 21, 2008. This will be to distribute safety gear, a disinfectant gel, health insurance papers, and insecticide nozzles. I also hope to move to other parts of Haryana and to Punjab during the trip, and extend the pesticide safety program.

There are about 40 families of migrant labor in the neighboring district of Kurukshetra. They have come to Haryana all the way from Bihar. They spray pesticides all the time, and are weary of the effects of the new patented products. They welcomed the pesticide safety initiative most enthusiastically. I spent quality time with Shanker Mandal and Rajkishore Shah pictured below.  Mandal is originally from Bithouli in Thana Beheri of Darbhanga district. Shah is from Bagheli, which falls under Jadiya thana in Supole (pincode 852112). Listen to their words at the link below the photograph.

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