Spray at the right time. It is common for fruits and vegetables in the markets to have a white powder on them. This means that farmers spray with mancozeb on the fruits, even after harvesting them thinking this will protect them from rotting before they are sold.
A fruit sprayed with this chemical will be poisonous and unfit for human consumption before the recommended withdraw period is over. Vendors clean the fruits with a wet piece of cloth and one will not see the powder.
One should be aware that this is only possible for powders, liquid chemicals leave no observable deposits, but they are in the tissues of fruits and vegetables that are consumed.
Prepare right dosages. Farmers always prepare higher dosages than recommended because they believe it will kill the pest faster, which is not true. Prepare the recommended dosages.
Smell-less strong too. Many farmers think that chemicals with a strong smell are better performers in the field compared to the odourless alternatives. This is also not true, usually smelly chemicals are more poisonous.
Do not mix inside spray tanks. Many farmers mix several chemicals in their spray tanks thinking that the mixture will be more active. This is a dangerous practice. In some cases, due to differences in chemistries (say pH levels), a farmer will end up with a less active mixture that will not be strong enough.
Apply for the right environment. Avoid the practice of using outdoor chemicals indoors purposes. Pesticides specifically labelled for indoor use should be used for this purpose.
Many outdoor pesticides are designed to break down into less toxic substances in daylight and rain. Without these conditions, the pesticides may linger and cause toxic conditions for humans and pets.
Read labels properly. When the instructions are not followed correctly, plant injury may occur, pests may not be controlled, health may be affected, and pesticides may contribute to soil, air, or water pollution.
Wear protective clothes. Farmers must wear protective clothing to prevent exposure to chemicals. You need to have at least have: rubber gloves, eye protection, a longsleeved shirt, long pants, and closed shoes.
Avoid using cotton gloves or light-weight dust masks because they may absorb the spray. Take a bath after spraying and wash from outside before using the bathroom.
Wash clothes separate from other laundry. Never smoke, drink or eat after pesticide application without washing first.
The writer is an agronomist