Pesticide use is on the decline


Pesticide use in Bangladesh is gradually declining, thanks to the popularity of a safe food campaign, government support for controlled pesticide cultivation and growing health awareness among farmers, according to the Extension Department. agricultural (DAE).

Take the example of Ashulia’s agricultural entrepreneur, Razia Sultana, who, unlike five or six years ago, no longer rushes to buy chemical pesticides as soon as the snails attack her peppers or fungal infections. leave stains on his cherry tomatoes.

Instead of spraying the chemicals all over the cropland like she used to do, Razia Sultana now assesses infection types and infected areas, and carefully uses few pesticides in a small volume.

For growing her high-value crops such as peppers, broccoli, beets and cherry tomatoes on 35 bighas (about 11.57 acres) of land, she has already replaced chemical fertilizers with manure and vermicompost.

“I don’t use pesticides and insecticides unless it’s very urgent. And if I have to apply these chemicals, the uses are limited,” Razia said.

Its agricultural produce arrives at the weekly “Krishoker Bazar” (Farmers’ Market) in Dhaka, a place popular with consumers as it offers organic agricultural produce.

Razia says that while fewer chemicals mean a little lower yield than usual, higher rates of vegetables in the organic market and less spending on pesticides have made her effort for the “less chemical shift” easier.

Bangladesh used up to 44,423 tonnes of pesticides worth Tk 755 crore in 2011. In 2020, pesticide use fell to 37,422 tonnes worth Tk 673 crore, according to the Plant Protection Wing DAE.

“Many agro-entrepreneurs and farmers now use less pesticides while some use natural pesticides. This is why the use of chemical pesticides is decreasing day by day,” said Md Zainul Abedin, deputy director of the wing. of plant protection to the DAE. The commercial standard.

A market for crops grown through the controlled use of chemicals has developed in Bangladesh over the past decade as the national safe and organic food campaign continues to gain popularity. On the other hand, farmers are finding that using less pesticides does not lead to drastic low yields, but rather they spend less on chemicals, which ultimately results in benefits.

According to the Plant Protection Directorate of the DAE, the use of fewer pesticides than the prescribed ceiling reduces the costs of rice growing by more than 11% per hectare, market gardening by about 23% and fruit cultivation by about 23%. almost 14%.

The Plant Protection Wing reports that the use of chemical pesticides is decreasing day by day thanks to integrated pest management techniques, balanced use of fertilizers, growing awareness of pesticide use and Training.

Data from the Ministry of Planning also supports controlled use of pesticides

Aiming at a safe food culture, the DAE implemented a project called “Integrated Pest Management (IPM)” from 2013 to 2018 across the country. The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Ministry of Planning released the project appraisal report in June this year.

Pesticide use was 20,635 tonnes in 2012, but declined by more than 14% to 14,775 tonnes in 2018, according to the report.

More than 1.5 lakh of farmers, of which at least 25% are women, directly participated in the IPM project. At least 30 to 35 farmers who were not part of the project were encouraged at each project site when they learned about IPM techniques, the IMED report noted.

As a result, 9,005 hectares of land were subject to controlled use of pesticides. Project coverage was 2,561 hectares.

However, the IMED report mentions that 20% of the 6,700 field schools set up for farmers were closed due to complications related to registration and a lack of follow-up.

In IPM, neem extract repels insects

IPM techniques generally use “sex pheromone traps” to control parasites. The trap uses a chemical excreted by female insects to attract the male.

Pest control refers to the control of insects, diseases, germs, worms, fungi and weeds that commonly damage crops.

In IPM, farmers opt for biological pest control measures, grow pest tolerant varieties and prioritize controlled mechanical and chemical measures.

Instead of chemicals, pesticide importers and distributors say many farmers now use leaves, bitter tree bark, neem extract, mahogany seeds, tobacco leaves and ‘other natural elements.

Herbicide use on the rise

The use of herbicides in liquid and powder form is increasing although the overall use of pesticides has decreased,

According to DAE sources, the use of herbicides increased from 4,000 tonnes in 2011 to 7,250 tonnes in 2018.

Debashish Chatterjee, director of the Bangladesh Crop Protection Association, said: “It is true that the use of pesticides has decreased in some cases. Previously, larger volumes of pesticides were needed to cover a particular area. But the same product can now cover the ground with only 10% of the volume. “

“The available products are less dangerous because they must obtain the authorization of the environment department before reaching the local market. The department grants the authorization after closely examining the chemical impacts on the environment and the plans for the environment. ‘water around the fields,’ he added.

According to the Plant Protection Directorate, there are around 400 registered importers and distributors who import pesticides from different countries including China, India and Germany. Many import and market products by repackaging them, while some traders import raw materials and produce pesticides themselves.

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