“India’s use of pesticides is 76 per cent as against the world average of 44 per cent. However, the use in agriculture is less than 350 gm a hectare as against the world average of 500 gm a hectare,” P. Subbian, Registrar, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said here on Monday.

Speaking at the inauguration of a five-day international workshop on “Production of Bio-control Agents (Trichoderma and Pseudomonas)”, he said that 51 per cent of India’s food commodities were contaminated with pesticide residues, out of which 20 per cent has pesticide residues above the permissible level. Scientists and researchers involved in the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Programme from various countries participated in the workshop.

“To ensure food security without affecting the environment and avoiding human health problems, it is important to develop alternative methods of pest management, which include the use of bio-pesticides.

Bio-pesticides accounted for only 0.2 per cent in the total pesticide market during 2000, but in 2005 it accounted for 2.5 per cent and the share is expected to be 5 per cent in 2013 with a market value of about one billion U.S. dollars,” he said.

The overall estimated growth rate of bio-pesticides would be 10 per cent per annum in the next five years. In addition, area under organic crops was growing, with an increase in awareness about organic food.

Highlighting the activities of TNAU in bio-control research, which was initiated in 1977, he said a bio-control unit was established in 1989. Several research projects on identifying bio-control agents were under progress.

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