With the problem of snails eating fresh crops growing worse for many farmers, the Council of Agriculture yesterday said it had developed a new pesticide spray which can get rid of snails and reduce agricultural damage by as much as 40 percent.
The council said snails and slugs may seem harmless, but they often climb up the stems of crops and eat newly grown leaves, which is a big concern for farmers.
Fei Wen-chi (費雯綺), chief of the council’s Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, said they began to develop the pesticide in 2009, after farmers in Greater Kaohsiung reported mollusc-related problems and asked the council to help them find a solution.
Traditional ways to prevent pests included creating physical obstacles, scattering pesticide bait on the ground or using direct spray pesticides, but the preventive effects were very limited, Fei said, adding that the chemical substances used were not waterproof, resulting in the pesticide being washed away by the rain.
The newly developed pesticide spray, which can be diluted with water and sprayed onto crops to form a thin layer, kills snails when they are exposed to the substance, without causing harm to human health, she added.
According to council statistics, snails and slugs can cause crop damage of between 30 and 40 percent.