New Delhi — The Government of India has taken several measures for proper use of pesticides by the farmers in the country. The pesticide residue data generated under the “Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level” programme are shared with State governments and ministries/organisations concerned to initiate corrective actions for judicious and proper use of pesticides on crops with integrated pest management and awareness generation among farmers. This was announced by the government on Gandhi Jayanti last week.
The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) emphasises Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that promotes biological, cultural and mechanical methods of pest and advocates need-based, judicious use of pesticides.
The DAC&FW has implemented a scheme “Strengthening and Modernisation of Pest Management Approach in India” to promote IPM, which is an environment-friendly, broad, ecological approach for managing pest-related problems.
The programme involves cultural, mechanical and biological pest control techniques with minimum dependence on chemical pesticides.
Human resource development in IPM is done by imparting training to extension officers in agriculture and horticulture departments and farmers at the grassroots by organising Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) and Seasonal Long Training Programmes (SLTPs).
The DAC&FW has established 35 central IPM centers in different States to promote IPM strategies. Grant-in-aid is also provided to the States for establishment and strengthening of State biocontrol laboratories. A total of 313 SBCLs have been established across India.
The “Grow Safe food” campaign has been initiated to create awareness about the safe and judicious use of pesticides among the various stakeholders. In addition to the above, DAC&FW has revised 68 IPM packages of practices for major crops, giving impetus to ecological and cultural techniques of pest management.
Under the Insecticide Act 1968, insecticides are registered after evaluating the safety of the product with respect to human health. The terms of registration also include instructions for farmers and users of pesticides on label and leaflets of containers on safe use of pesticides. If the pesticide is used as per the instructions on labels and leaflets, they are unlikely to leave behind unwanted residues in the agricultural produce.
The DAC&FW is regularly monitoring the pesticide residues in food commodities and environmental samples under the central sector scheme, “Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level”. The scheme was initiated during 2005-06. It has 25 participating laboratories representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Indian Council of Agriculture Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizer, Ministry of Commerce and State Agricultural Universities across the country.
The participating laboratories collect samples of food commodities from various Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets, Public Distribution Systems (PDS), Farm Gates and irrigated water and soil samples from agricultural fields across various parts of the country. The samples are analysed for the presence of possible pesticide residues in various food commodities such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, spices, pulses, milk, butter, irrigated water, fish, meat, tea etc.