Pests such as worms or aphids (green like insects) on leafy vegetables, can be irritating especially those in the habit of eating salads.
And yet spraying with chemicals has its own effects, simply because most farmers don’t even observe the withdrawal periods.
According to Thomas Kunyana, a horticulture expert, some agro chemicals in the class of glyphosates that mainly deal with weeds stay longer about 60 days on vegetables and yet most of mature within 30 days.
And because farmers are in need of quick cash they tend to ignore advice given on when to harvest. In the process consumes take chemicals that have become a health challenge of late.
That is why agronomists are advising farmers interested in having their own vegetables to go for organic pesticide or natural means of managing pests and diseases. These should be accompanied with hygiene of the garden or backyard, to prevent the emergency of weeds.
Hygiene in the gardens means, timely weeding, pruning and regular scouting to look out for older leaves among others, according to Robinah Gafabusa, a senior research technician on Urban farming at Mukono Zonal Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI).
What could be the alternatives to chemical pesticides?
She explained that one of the plants they are promoting is the planting of spring onions in almost all vegetable gardens, as these repel all kinds of diseases causing pests.
She revealed this while taking Mukono and Wakiso local leaders through urban farming practices that will not only improve nutrition at household level but also generate household incomes.
This was during a field day organized by MUZARDI, to show case the different technologies at the research institutions are working on to improve the lives people in the 22 districts in central region that the institute serves.
Among the technologies exhibited include local poultry rearing, fish farming, adding value to idengeneous vegetables, urban farming methods among others. Other natural pesticides include rabbit urine, chili, vinegar, ash, bio slurry among others.
She however, warns that these should applied in the right measurements upon consultation from an extension worker or district agriculture officers near them.