Agri Business

Usage of bio-pesticides growing at a faster pace than chemical variety

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2018

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, use of bio-pesticides rose 23 per cent, while that of the chemical pesticides grew only 2 per cent

But chemical pesticides still way ahead in terms of absolute usage

Even as the Maharashtra government grapples with farmers’ deaths and injuries due to their exposure to chemical pesticides, data from the Union Ministry of Agriculture show a more positive all-India trend, with the usage of bio-pesticides across the country rising faster than that of chemical pesticides.

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, usage of bio-pesticides increased by 23 per cent, while that of chemical pesticides grew only 2 per cent.

Data from the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, show that in 2010-11 the all-India consumption of bio-pesticide was 5,151 tonnes, which has increased to 6,340 tonnes for 2016-17.

Although the numbers for 2016-17 are provisional, they indicate a definite upward trend. Moreover, chemical pesticides consumption is seen rising only incrementally, from 55,540 tonnes to 57,000 tonnes for the period under review.

Unlike chemical pesticides, which are made from industrial chemicals, bio-pesticides are derived from plant extracts, fungi, bacteria, protozoans and minerals. They are used for crop protection and are found to be benign for both humans and the environment.

Integrated pest control

Agriculture consultant Jagadeesh Sunkad says new pesticides of biological origin coupled with integrated pest management are the most relevant alternatives to chemical pesticides. However, it is still a commercial challenge to educate farmers and deliver results on matters of yield and production, he said.

Integrated pest management is a wide-ranging approach that aims to suppress pests’ populations below the economic injury level.

Chemical toppers

The numbers point to another important fact — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are major guzzlers of chemical pesticides in the country.

In 2010-11, Maharashtra’s share was 14 per cent of the total consumption of 55,540 tonnes, while Andhra Pradesh was a tad higher at about 16 per cent, and Uttar Pradesh was at 15 per cent.

In 2016-17, out of the total chemical pesticide consumption of 57000 tonnes, Maharashtra’s consumption was 13,496 tonnes (23 per cent), while Uttar Pradesh consumed 10,142 tonnes (18 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh’s total use (including Telangana) was 5,724 tonnes (10 per cent).

Published on October 22, 2017

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