Pests such as worms, and aphids (green like insects) especially on leafy vegetables, can be irritating, especially for 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 agrochemicals in the class of Glyphosates that mainly deal with weeds stay longer about 60 days on vegetables and yet most mature within 30 days.
And because farmers need quick cash they tend to ignore the advice given on when to harvest.
In the process, consumers 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 pesticides or natural means of managing pests and diseases.
These should be accompanied by the hygiene of the garden or backyard, to prevent the emergence 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 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 the household level but also generate household incomes.
This was during a field day organized by MUZARDI, to showcase the different technologies the research institutions are working on to improve the lives of people in the 22 districts in the central region that the institute serves.
Among the technologies exhibited include local poultry rearing, fish farming, adding value to ingenious vegetables, and urban farming methods among others. Other natural pesticides include rabbit urine, chilli, vinegar, ash, and bio-slurry among others.
She, however, warns that these should be applied in the right measurements upon consultation from an extension worker or district agriculture officers near them.