Farmer's Notebook Science

An entire village shuns using chemicals for growing crops

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Farmers in Sorapattu village of Mannadipattu in Puducherry seem to have a lot of information on using integrated pest management (IPM) for protecting their crops rather than using chemical pesticides for the same.

IPM means judicious combination and use of all locally available pest control agents. All the farmers in the village have invariably curtailed the use of plant protection chemicals and started following practices like using neem oil, neem cake, tricho cards, light trap, pheromone trap, and ‘T’ shaped bird perches, thus helping them save more than Rs.5,000 per hectare towards crop protection (before they adopted this the cost was about Rs.6,800)

Since 1994

The emphasis on IPM in the region has been in practice since 1994, in order to bring down the indiscriminate usage of pesticides to contain crop pests and diseases while conserving and protecting natural insects in crop ecosystem.

Perunthalaivar Kamaraj Krishi Vigyan Kendra (PKKVK), Puducherry, in co-ordination with the agriculture department has been responsible in bringing this tremendous change in the attitude of the farmers towards this method.

Pesticide consumption in this region has come down significantly from 163 metric tonnes in 1990-91 to 40.92 tonnes in 2013-2014, resulting in a two-thirds reduction in its consumption. Similarly, the number of pesticides outlets has decreased from 196 in 1990-1991 to 115 in 2013-2014, nearly a 30 percent decrease.

Lowest number

The lowest number of outlets was recorded in 2006-07 & 2007-08, according to Dr. N.Vijaykumar, subject specialist, who has been conferred nearly half a dozen awards by different sectors for his work on this subject.

“The concept has spread well and widely accepted by the farming community. The scripting success on its adoption, the strenuous efforts and consistent follow-up confirm that farmers have realised the ill-effects of chemicals in various crops which include rice, groundnut, cotton, coconut, banana, vegetables, flowers and sugarcane over years,” says Dr. Mohan Saveri Programme Coordinator.

During the past 17 years between 1997 and 2014 a total of 69 training programmes were conducted involving more than 2,000 participants.

Over the years, the duration of the trainings ranged from one to five days and more number of trainings conducted among different crops. Emphasis was placed on seeing is believing, teaching by doing and learning by practicing in these training sessions.

Apart from the regular training, field visits and farm advisory services were also carried out.

Different channels

The success achieved in popularising these technologies is mainly due to the creation of awareness and transferring skills through participatory as well as farmer to farmer mode, by conducting farmers’ field schools, imparting training, printing and distribution of leaflets and pamphlets, conducting demonstrations and rendering prescription support farm advisory services.

The Kendra took on the responsibility of making available different bio agents and bio control inputs for the farmers since sourcing them on time could prove very time consuming and laborious.

The green revolution laid more emphasis on producing quantity and this led to indiscriminate and over use of chemical insecticides to control insect pests and produce higher yields.

Past decade

But in the past decade increasing awareness on the toxin residues on the crops and the need for a safe and efficient alternative which can help farmers cut costs and at the same time produce healthy food is fast finding acceptance among both the sectors, according to Dr. Mohan Saveri, Programme Coordinator of the Kendra.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi had conferred the Kendra with the best KVK award for promoting IPM through Integrated extension approaches to the farming community.

For further details please contact Dr.N.Vijaykumar, Subject Matter Specialist (Agricultural Entomology), KVK Puducherry, Mobile: 9442525675, email:dr.nithyavijai@gmail.com and Dr. Mohan Saveri, Programme Coordinator, Mobile: 9442525674.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2017 9:33:06 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/an-entire-village-shuns-using-chemicals-for-growing-crops/article6809021.ece