Young mothers, small children eat intoxicated vegetables


VietNamNet Bridge – Millions of young mothers might have got stunned on the news that rau ngot, a popular vegetable in Vietnam, is unsafe to people because of the high pesticide residues. Rau ngot has been eaten raw, especially by the women after giving birth.


According to Nguyen Xuan Hong, Director of the Plant Protection Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), 7 samples of rau ngot out of the 25 samples taken from the big markets in Hanoi and HCM City have been found as containing the higher-than-allowed pesticide residues.


The other 15 samples have been found as containing the residues lower than the allowed levels, while residues were not found in the remaining 3 samples.


Meanwhile, two muop dang (another kind of vegetable) out of the 25 samples have been found as unsafe to people because of the high pesticide residues.


The report of the Plant Protection Agency has also pointed out that the vegetables grown in the north bear higher risks than the ones in the south.


In principle, farmers can harvest rau ngot after 20 days of growing. However, if they spray chemicals, they can harvest the vegetable just after 15 days.


Rau ngot has been sold at all the markets in Hanoi. Since it is cheap and thought to be good to women after giving birth, rau ngot has been sold very well.


When VietNamNet’s reporters came to Van Noi commune of Dong Anh district and asked to buy rau ngot, they were asked what they wanted, safe vegetables or the vegetables grown in the fields.


“If you want the vegetables on the fields, you should go further to the next area. Safe vegetables are scare. There are just three vegetable lots at Tam’s garden,” a farmer said.


When asked what was the difference between the vegetables grown on the fields and the ones grown at farmers’ gardens, the farmer said farmers spray more chemicals to the vegetables on the fields, which they would sell on the market, while the vegetables at gardens would only serve their family meals.


Lan, a farmer in Van Noi commune, explained that rau ngot can be sold best in summer. Local farmers can harvest every 10-13 days.


“You have to wait until the plants sprout and the buds get 5-10 cm, then you need to spray chemicals,” she explained.


Lan went on to say that pesticide has been used not only for rau ngot, but all kinds of vegetables. “If you don’t, your vegetables would be unsalable,” she said when asked why farmers still like spraying too much pesticide to make vegetables unsafe.


Huong, a farmer in the safe vegetable area in the Tien Le hamlet of Hoai Duc district, said rau ngot can be harvested every 25 days on average. It’ll take more time if it is too hot, because rau ngot like wet climate.


When asked why rau ngot can be harvested every 13 days in other areas, Huong said the farmers in the locality spray the chemicals which stimulate vegetables to grow more rapidly.


Nguyen Van Minh, Chair of the Van Duc Vegetable Cooperative in Gia Lam district, has also affirmed that rau ngot cannot be harvested just after less than 20 days.


Bao Han