Agriculture is practiced in India from earliest mankind. India even non is an agrarian country. Its economy mainly dependants on agriculture and it contributes about 14 percent of its GDP. The basic aim of agriculture is to produce sufficient food for its growing population and fodder for cattle and also to provide agri-products for global and local agricultural trade besides maintaining of buffer stock of food for emergent situations.
Post independence in India Grow More Food Programme was implemented by the Government in which several High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of major crops like wheat, rice, and maize were introduced to produce more food. Later on India became self sufficient in food production due to Green Revolution.
High Yielding Varieties which were used during Green Revolution became susceptible and prone to insects, pests and diseases. To overcome this pest and disease menace chemical pesticides were used as major agriculture inputs. The indiscriminate and liberal use of these chemical pesticides in agriculture became hazardous to human and animal health, environment and bio-diversity. Injudicious use of chemical pesticides polluted environment, created ecological imbalances, pesticides residues in food, soil and water. It led to pest resurgence, development of pest resistance, secondary pest outbreak, and minor pests becoming major. Also it caused adverse effects on beneficial organisms including natural enemies of crop pests, pollinators, soil microbes etc.
Switch over to Integrated Pest Management
In order to minimize the use of hazardous chemical pesticides and to manage the insects, pests & diseases attack as well as to increase the crop productivity, the Ministry of Agriculture through Department of Agriculture & Co-Operation (DAC) has implemented a scheme “Strengthening and Modernization of Pest Management Approach in India” since 1991-92 by adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as cardinal principle and main plank of plant protection strategy in overall crop production programme. Under this programme, the ministry has established 31 Central IPM Centres in 28 States and one UT. In 12th Five year plan, a National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) was formed, under which a Sub-Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine has been introduced since 2014-15. It has a mandate to popularize adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through training and demonstration in crops inter-alia promotion of biological control approaches in crop protection technology. Settlement of the lab to land gap can be narrowed down through proper training and education to the farmers by way of expert and regular extension services.
Safe and Judicious use of pesticides
The Government of India is implementing the following programmes for safe and judicious use of pesticides.
Implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM):
This programme includes pest/disease monitoring, production and release of bio-control agents/ bio-pesticides, conservation of bio-control agents and Human Resource Development by imparting training to Agriculture / Horticulture Extension Officers and farmers at grass root level by organizing Farmers Field Schools (FFSs) in farmers’ fields. Basic aim of FFS is to train the farmers on the latest IPM technology so that they are able to take decision in pest management operation. In FFSs the farmers are also trained about the safe and judicious use of pesticides on their crops so that the crop can be grown with minimum use of pesticides
In IPM the prophylactic and schedule based application of pesticides is replaced with need based, spot application instead of blanket application by observing Economic Threshold Levels (ETLs) and drawing conclusion on the basis of Agro Ecosystem Analysis (AESA) by adopting ecological engineering on different crops.
Conserving the existing naturally occurring bio-agents in the cropping system supplementing through augmentation of bio-control agents, promotion of bio-pesticides instead of chemical pesticides is advocated in implementation of IPM- programme.
Implementation of Insecticides Act, 1968
This act regulates the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides with a view to prevent risk to human beings, animals and environment, to ensure the availability of quality pesticides and bio pesticides to the farmers.
Farmers are advised to purchase the pesticides from licensed pesticides dealers after seeking expert advice from extension workers and insist for stamped and signed Cash Memo with details of the batch number, date of manufacture/ expiry of the pesticides etc.
Before purchase the user should ensure the manufacturer details on the containers. Pesticides should not be stored with eatables.
Labels and leaflets are mandatorily available with pesticides containers which contain the recommended use of pesticides by CIB &RC. Labels & Leaflets contain the information on chemicals harmful to human beings & animals, Warnings, Caution statements, Symptoms of poisoning, Safety measures and Emergency first aid measures which help for safe and judicious use of pesticides. Users are advised to read labels and lets leaf before using the pesticides.
Labels of pesticides should be read before purchase of pesticides and be sure that the particular pesticides are recommended for the target pest and crop.
Advice is given not to procure leaked containers and mix the pesticides with help of stick only.
Observing prescribed waiting period after the use of pesticides also help the safe and judicious use.
Use of right pesticides, on right crop, against right pest, at right time, right dose and apply right methods suggest the safe and judicious use.
Farmers are advised not to purchase the banned pesticides.
Use of broad spectrum pesticides is discouraged and priority should be given to select first green label pesticides followed by blue, yellow and red.
Users are asked to wear protective clothing while using pesticides; they should not spray against wind, should not smoke and eat while spraying, must wash their hands etc. and if possible must take bath and wash the clothes/ protective clothing after the job is over. Farmers are asked to Not to blow the nozzles though mouth.
Avoid using leaking spray machines and not to allow children to spray.
Advised to keep pesticides away from the reach of children, and store the pesticides in double lock system.
Advised not to use the empty pesticides containers for domestic use.
First aid be given soon after the pesticides poisoning symptoms appears and rush to the doctor.
Empty pesticides containers must be triple rinsed after use and must be crushed and disposed off safely.
Do not throw the pesticides containers as garbage in open space.
Ensuring the Quality Control of Chemical and Bio-Pesticides;
Insecticide Inspectors are notified under Insecticide Act- 1968 by both State and Central departments to ensure the quality of pesticides and bio-pesticides. So far Government of India has notified 168 number of Central Insecticides Inspector to enforce the Insecticide -Act. To ensure that only good quality pesticide is available to the farmers, 68- State Pesticides Testing Laboratories (SPTLs) and two Regional Pesticides Testing Laboratories (RPTLs) at Chandigarh and Kanpur and a Central Insecticides Laboratory (CIL) at Faridabad have been established for the analysis of pesticides samples.
Public at large and farmers in particular are made aware of programmes thorough print and electronic media & also by placing big sized hoardings at prominent places to educate them about the safe and judicious use of pesticides.
The farmers and pesticides dealers are being trained through IPM– Farmers Field School Programmes; short duration training programmes of 2-days and 5-days being organized by 31-Central IPM Centres located in 28 states and one UT. State departments are also doing such training activities for safe and judicious use of pesticides. Training for Doctors are also arranged by the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage.