By staff at the UNDP office in Skopje
Via National Geographic.
“This is the one everyone knows from cartoons – the little worm in the apple,” says Eftim Petkovski, scooping the larva of a codling moth from an apple in his orchard in Resen. “But it’s no joke, I can tell you – if we farmers don’t spray for them early on, all our livelihoods are at risk.”
“Timing is everything with these pests. You’ve got to predict their migrations – and that can be a matter of hours. Spraying too early or too late is much less effective and a lot more expensive because you need bigger amounts – often as much as three times the quantity. And you can guess what that does to the environment.”
Overuse of pesticides amongst orchard farmers in Resen has been proven to be a major cause of pollution in the beautiful but environmentally vulnerable region of the Prespa Lake Basin, threatening the habitat of over 2,000 species of birds, fish and mammals, including many endangered animals unique to Prespa.
UNDP has been working in close cooperation with the Municipality of Resen in recent years (with funding from the Global Environment Facility and the Swiss Development Cooperation), on projects to raise awareness of the dangers of pesticides and to help local farmers adopt more environmentally-sustainable agricultural practices. These efforts have already led to a 30 percent reduction in the amount of pesticides used by local farmers each season – good news for the environment and savings for farmers. “The way we dealt with pests before was wasteful,” says Mr. Petkovski. “And a lot of that could be put down to farmers’ lack of awareness.”
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