Study flags excess pesticide use by rice, cotton growers - ECAS Punjab

Study flags excess pesticide use by rice, cotton growers

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6

A joint study, commissioned by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, has raised concern about the high use of pesticides by rice and cotton growers in Punjab. The study said the use of pesticides was maximum in the Kashmir valley while Punjab ranked second in north India.

High Use Of Chemicals

  • The study took into account the use of pesticides and fungicides in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Moga and Muktsar
  • These areas were selected as these account for 20 per cent of area under paddy cultivation in the state
  • Paddy growers were using over 20 types of insecticides and nine herbicides

Rice and cotton growers of Punjab, vegetable cultivators of Jammu and apple growers of Kashmir were found to be exposed to health risks arising from the application of high quantities of pesticides, said the study conducted by scientists from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Amity University, UP; and Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu. The study, published in 'Environmental Management', also revealed that the official figures of pesticide use were largely under-reported.

The study took into account the use of pesticides and fungicides by rice farmers in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Moga and Muktsar. These areas were selected as these account for 20 per cent of area under paddy cultivation in the state. They found that paddy cultivators applied 20 types of insecticides, five insecticide cocktails and nine herbicides. Some of these have been categorised as hazardous by the World Health Organisation.

Cultivation of BT cotton in early 2000s had led to introduction of pesticides that are to be given in low dosage. "Even low dose of pesticides is extremely potent as their toxicity is greater than that of organochlorimates and carbonates used earlier," it pointed out.

For cotton, Fazilka, Bathinda and Mansa districts were selected. In all these places, integrated pest management programmes have been run for many years now, but farmers continue to use 26 insecticides, three readymade cocktail insecticides, nine fungicides, besides three fungicide cocktails, five herbicides and two bio-pesticides. Pesticide use by weight in cotton crop was found to be 2.660 kg per hectare. Pesticides belonging to WHO Hazard Category II were being used here.

In Kashmir, the gross misuse of pesticide was attributed to the lack of integrated pest management. Though extremely hazardous and highly hazardous pesticides were not used for apple, the probable and possible carcinogenic pesticide use was 9.039 kg per hectare.

Principal investigator of the study Rajinder Peshin told The Tribune that pesticide use in farming had been declining in late 1990s and early 2000. "Since 2007, it gained an upward trend. The study points out that apple is a pesticide guzzler with 25.2 kg of active ingredient per hectare being used. This is followed by cotton and rice areas of Punjab and vegetable cultivation in Jammu," he said.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3iBgs7p

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