Wednesday, May 18, 2011


PUT SPOTLIGHT ON FARMING PRACTICES - Chinese farmers in the country’s eastern Jiangsu Province have lost acres of their watermelons after the fruits started exploding one by one.  A report by the China Central Television said farmers were using too much of the growth promoter chemical so that they could get their fruit to market ahead of the peak season and increase their profits.  According to the Xinhua, 20 farmers in a Jiangsu village planted imported seeds from Japan, from whom 10 households said their watermelons began exploding last month.  Farmer Liu Mingsuo told Xinhua that more than two-thirds of his crop had blown up after he used chemicals to boost their growth.  Liu is, however, the only farmer from the 10 households who used chemicals.  Experts cannot explain why the chemical-free watermelons have the same fate as the non-chemical ones.

Chinese regulations don’t forbid the drug, and it is allowed in the United States on kiwi fruit and grapes. But the report underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers.   China has approved the use of growth chemical - like the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron - under certain quotas and tests conducted so far show that the chemical is safe.  
People, however, are more concerned about food safety and experts believe a quality tracking system should be introduced to ensure food safety and inform the public about all stages of the food chain.

Watermelons have been bursting by the score in eastern China after farmers gave them overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather.  Prices over the past year prompted many farmers to jump into the watermelon market.  The aim of gaining more profit leads farmers to depend on chemical fertilisers and many have no choice but to cut down their trees and to poison their soil with cheap fertilisers to produce cash crops for sell.  People have been taught to want more and more, and the result is pollution, hunger and war. 

You have to feed 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to a cow to produce one pound of edible beef. In other words, to produce 500 pounds of meat on a 700 pound cow requires that the cow consume 8,000 pounds of grains and soybeans. ... In environmental matters, for instance, the largest culprit against the environment is the farm industry. Because it takes 16 times more food to feed cattle than what we receive in return, that means we are using 16 times more land than is necessary to produce food. And this land is mostly cleared forests and drained wetlands, which are growing in short supply, and are essential for the biological diversity of nature. ... The largest polluter of rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers (for water wells) is not the manufacturing industry, but the agriculture industry, by the runoff from chemical fertilizers, manure and pesticides.

Śripad Yajnavalkya Dasa :
“Defending Dharma”

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