Plant pathologist criticises proponents of organic farming, environmentalists

January 05, 2016 03:56 pm | Updated September 22, 2016 10:12 pm IST - RAICHUR

C.D. Mayee, former Chairman of ASRB (IARI), delivering the keynote address at a national symposium on plant pathology at UAS-R, in Raichur Tuesday.   PHOTO: SANTOSH SAGAR

C.D. Mayee, former Chairman of ASRB (IARI), delivering the keynote address at a national symposium on plant pathology at UAS-R, in Raichur Tuesday. PHOTO: SANTOSH SAGAR

Proponents of organic farming and environmentalists give lots of advice and do nothing, says C.D. Mayee, former Chairman of the Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board. He was delivering the keynote address at a national symposium on “Recent Trends in Plant Pathological Research and Education,” jointly organised by Indian Phytopathological Society and University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, on the varsity campus in Raichur on Tuesday.

“The fellows sitting in Delhi who have never seen cattle urine or dung suggest you to use them as bio-pesticide. You should spoil your hands in dung and they will be in five-star hotels,” he ridiculed.

Recalling his own study, Mr. Mayee suspected the purity of organic agricultural inputs as bio-pesticides and stressed the need for devising handy tools with which individual farmers could test their purity.

“I have analysed 20 bio-pesticides sold in the Hyderabad market and found that all of them had contained chemical pesticide. We need to devise tools that could be handy for farmers in testing inputs on their own as Inspector Raj won’t control it. We have already devised a kit with which a farmer can detect spurious seeds in Bt cotton seed packet. Such tools for biological, botanical and chemical detection must continue to be devised. Otherwise, overall cheating of farmers will go on in the name of organic farming,” he said.

Mr. Mayee held that food contamination could be avoided with proper use of technology. “Despite around 40 sprays being used for grapes, not a single consignment of exported grape is being rejected these days as farmers are taught proper usage of chemicals. Because of this monitoring right from the ground level, we could effectively address the issues of resistance and residue,” he said.

He slammed environmentalists as well by terming them advisors who don’t do anything. “There are many people who don’t do anything in conserving the environment, but keep on telling you what you should to for protecting it. We have tremendous advisors, but all of them are not actually doers,” he said.

Green Revolution

Mr. Mayee opined that the Green Revolution hardly benefited farmers though it did a wonderful job in addressing the country’s food security issues.

“Farmers are now asking who the Green Revolution was introduced for. They demand some revolutions which they could gain from. They are more concerned about the benefits that technologies could offer them.”

Future trends

Pointing out vital projections from the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, Mr. Mayee stressed the need for looking into the future trends while orienting plant pathological research.

“As per NITI Aayog’s projection, the country’s population will cross 1.75 billion by 2050, requiring around 400 million tonnes of foodgrains a year. The import of pulses would increase to 35 million tonnes and oil seeds to 45 million tonnes. The total number of landholders will increase from 139 million to 160 million, reducing per capita landholding to 1.7 hectare. The rural-urban population ratio of 60:40 will almost get reversed to 38:68, indicating rapid urbanisation,” he said.

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