Climate change: Organic pesticides are a Brahmastra for farmers

Researchers from University of Washington have reported that in the coming days, due to increasing temperature, crops will be highly susceptible to insects and diseases. Scientists fear that increasing temperature will enhance resistive power of insects. In other words, insecticides will become ineffective

Arvind ShuklaArvind Shukla   24 Aug 2019 1:22 PM GMT

Climate change: Organic pesticides are a Brahmastra for farmers

Along with India, agriculture world over is undergoing a sea change. To negate the ill-effects of climatic changes caused due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, agricultural scientists and experts are pushing for use of organic pesticides. They believe implementing natural ways is the only solution.

Researchers from University of Washington have reported that in the coming days, due to increasing temperature, crops will be highly susceptible to insects and diseases. Scientists fear that increasing temperature will enhance resistive power of insects. In other words, insecticides will become ineffective.

Use of pesticides is comparatively more in Britain, Europe than the rest of the world. Guy Poppy, professor at University of Southampton in Britain, has emphasized on using organic ways in order to contro lattack of insects. Also, he has advised to change 'time of sowing', 'crop-cycle', and to plant immune-rich crops in order to remain averse from ill impact of insects.

Solution which was advised by Professor from Europe was once a chief foothold for Indian farmers. Organic farming from indigenous seeds was practiced and treatment of crop diseases was done by applying neem, turmeric, curd and other organic ways. But from 1960 till 1980-1990,farmers became dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. After ill effects of Green Revolution, farmers were vulnerable towards practicing traditional farming.

Increasing count of insects and exacerbating Natural Cycle

"Increasing count of insects is an ill result of breaking natural processes. Scientists from all over the world are fighting one-sided dispute against insects. If you kill leaf-eating insects then what will non-vegetarian insects eat? In years 1950-60, termite and green grasshoppers were the only insects. Now, their count is above hundred. Use of Pesticides and fertilizers have exacerbated the natural cycle. As a result, number of insects has increased," said Ishwar Singh Kundu, agro-scientist from Haryana. According to Kundu, agro-scientists and agro-informers have completely failed in protecting crops. Now, complete dependence is on farmers.

Punjab and Haryana were ill-famed for their Indiscriminatory use of pesticides and fertilizers. But nowadays they practice chemical-free farming. Worthy of credits entitles not only to awareness, but also to efforts of Kundu, resident of kethal district. Ishwar Singh Kundu is recipient of Rashtrapati Award. According to agro-scientist and maker of plant-based agricultural products, Ishwar Singh Kundu, every year, 10-15 thousand-acre crop gets cultivated, which is dependent on his organic herbal products.

In the decade of 1980, Kundu used to run a shop of chemical medicines. He was prone to diseases. Also, he saw many farmers dying due to cancer. He got overwhelmed. Racked with guilt he started working for benefit of farmers. "I have researched for 10 years in order to find ways to substitute chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Moreover, I've made products from herbs. It will prevent harmful impact of insects. I've substituted Fungicides, Pesticides, and Weedicides. Farmers want to practice poison-free farming weather it is organic or natural farming," said Ishwar Guddu.

Ishwar Singh Kundu, agro-scientist from Haryana

Integrated Pest Management jolted to a start

After the Green Revolution, farmers limited the use of pesticides and fertilizers. In 1970, Integrated Pest Management jolted to a start. It explains alternative methods to save crops from insects and weeds. Impact of insects is controlled through this process. This method is favorable to the environment.

Farmers use pesticides whenever their crops are subjected to insects or diseases. Not only these pesticides are unreasonably high, but also, they affect the health of farmers and crops. Also, it reduces fertility of soil. However, farmers can also practice pesticide-free farming. That process is known as Integrated Pest Management. This alternative is easy, cheap and chemical-free.

Gaon Connection met and conversed with many farmers, and agro-scientists from different states of the country. We could infer that farmers want to practice chemical-free farming. The purview of organic farming has increased. However, farmers are doing organic farming on their own. They did not get any facilitation from the government.

Organic farming -- a fashion plate for the government

"Budget of organic farming in India is .001 % comparing to concessions that Multinational Corporations receive. However, adopting natural ways and biodiverse farming will benefit India. This method can only deal with climatic changes. We have also proved that," said Dr Vandana Shiva, environmentalist. She runs an institution Navdanya. It deals in preserving indigenous seeds.

"Pesticides are mostly used in protecting fruits and vegetables. While, pesticide-free farming can also be done. 80% farmers wish to practice pesticide-free farming. There were certain problems in chemical-free farming. We have identified such bacteria and micronutrients. That research has provided scientific authentication to it," said Dushyant Mishra, chief scientist at Indian Agricultural Research Council, Meerut.

Dr Mahendra Madhup claims government to be a major barrier for farmers. He is senior agro-journalist in Rajasthan. Also, he is the director of Mission Scientist Parivaar. "Natural farming is the continual step of organic farming. This process will occur for more than 100-200 years. The government has been providing subsidy for organic farming to farmers. However, it is bill of goods. Whatever goods we have they offer at subsidy for Rs 100, we get that for Rs 45 in the local market."

Such microorganisms are abundant in nature

Organic pesticides are prepared using various microbe, bacteria, fungus, virus and herbs. Neem dependent pesticides are made naturally. Azadirachtin and other metabolite are present in the Neem Oil. They affect insects. "The government is motivating farmers to use organic pesticides. It grants 75% facilities on its usage," says, LS Yadav, deputy director of the Agricultural Protection Department in Uttar Pradesh.

This is Part 3 of our series Farming 2.0: Go Desi

Read Part 1: PM Modi urges farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides. It's high time farmers go back to the drawing board to achieve this

Read Part 2: To beat the ill effects of climate change, farmers are going back in time

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