TNAU calls for new pesticide management strategies

FOR ENVIRONMENT: Registrar of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University P. Subbian speaking at a training programme on pesticide management at the university in Coimbatore.  

Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: According to the World Health Organisation, one million human pesticide poisoning cases are reported all over the world with one-third of these occurring in farm workers.

This shows the non-judicious use of pesticides, exposure to pesticides, and poor awareness among farmers, P. Subbian, Registrar, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said here recently.

Speaking at a three-week faculty training programme on “New Vistas in Pesticide Management” at the university, the Registrar said pesticide usage was high in Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, where commercial crops were grown. The continuous use of pesticides had led to the development of resistance and resurgence in insect pests.

Pointing out that 145 pesticides had been registered for use, he said the production of these had increased from 5,000 tonnes in 1958 to 85,000 tonnes in 2009. India was the second largest manufacturer of pesticides in Asia after China.

Though India's consumption of pesticide was less compared to the world average, it was found that more than 51 per cent of food commodities were contaminated with pesticide residues.

“To ensure food security without affecting the environment it has become vital to manage the use of pesticides, as that of using pesticides for controlling pests. Plant protection scientists need to develop technologies, strategies and policy recommendations for proper management of pesticides,” the Registrar said.

E.I. Jonathan, Director, Centre for Plant Protection Studies, said the consumption of technical grade pesticides in India had declined in the last ten years due to adoption of Integrated Pest Management practices.