Herbicides; a health danger – Hoima nutritionist warns

A man sprays his lettuce in Uganda. (Credit: AFRICAN NEWSLETTER).

A senior nutritionist at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital has warned that vegetable and fruit farmers’ abuse of herbicides is one of the greatest threats to human health.

“You might be swallowing small quantities of dangerous chemicals on every meal if you do not take care,” he warns.

Mr Robert Mugabi says the growing trend of using herbicides and pesticides to control farm pests and diseases ends in the food chain if no precaution between the garden, market and eating process is considered. 

The nutrition expert says the high risk population is of people who consume unwashed vegetables and fruits meaning that they take in all the chemicals especially when a farmer never took precautions during spraying and harvesting processes.

He says that some people especially those who enjoy pork and Irish potato chips like raw cabbage, thus, exposing them to many near or long term health complications.

In a one-on-one interview with Kazi-njema News, Mr Mugabi encourages people to thoroughly wash vegetables with running water before eating or boiling them.

Audio: Mugabi on herbicides (English)

However, the nutritionist appreciates that eating raw vegetable would be very important since once takes in all the nutrients necessary had it not been increases use of herbicides.

It is on this basis that Mr Mugabi urges agricultural extension workers to intensify farmer sensitisation about the appropriate ways of applying herbicides especially at harvesting and marketing time.  

It is unfortunate that limited attention has been paid to factors that cause or exacerbate non communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and blood pressure yet they are silently promoting poverty as they are expensive to treat.

Of course, the booming business of herbicides and horticulture alongside the desire to acquire nutrients could be crippling any efforts to de-campaign them.

But weighing between accessing treatment for cancer and other yet researched about health complication could do better towards forging a way forward to save the current and future generations.


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