Agri Business

‘Spice clinics' to hold campaigns on judicious use of pesticides

C. J. Punnathara Kochi | Updated on March 12, 2018

With cardamom prices soaring, a section of farmers is using pesticides indiscriminately, leaving many labourers ill. The Spices Board pointed to news reports of labourers “falling ill due to mixing and spraying of spurious chemicals”.

Now the Indian Cardamom Research Institute has stepped in with awareness programmes for farmers on the judicious use of pesticides. The campaign will focus on various aspects of pesticide application including dosage, time of application, precautions, method of storage and disposal of containers. These ‘spice clinics' will be held every Wednesday through the Spices Board's field offices in the major cardamom-growing areas.

The board recently launched one-day awareness programmes on the safe use of pesticides for estate owners, supervisors and labourers. Inaugurating the programme, Dr J. Thomas, Director of ICRI, pointed out the social problems resulting from the unethical use of pesticide in the fragile ecosystems of the Cardamom Hill Reserve.

Unscientific use of dangerously high levels of pesticide, sometimes under the guidance of so-called “consultants”, on cardamom plantations is hazardous both to people and the environment, the Spices Board said.

The Indian Cardamom Research Institute has developed ‘Good Agriculture Practices' that prescribe the right dosage and time of pesticide application. Dr Thomas requested farmers to consult scientists or agricultural officers of Krishi Bhavans for the right information.

Dr S. Varadarajan, a senior scientist, detailed the precautions and hygienic measures to be taken during pesticide application. He emphasised the importance of adhering to the safe waiting period after each pesticide application. The need of the hour is for quality cardamom without pesticide residue, as importing countries such as Japan have already rejected cardamom containing Triazophos and Prophenophos. Another scientist, Dr Dhanpal, prescribed the right use of fungicides and the advantages of using bio-control agents in managing diseases.

During the training programme, farmers were able to clear their doubts. They also requested ICRI to start a pesticide testing laboratory at its premises and conductregular training programmes on all aspects of spice cultivation.

Published on January 07, 2011

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