Pesticide uses declines by 25 percent

Use of harmful pesticide showed a constant declining trend, registering a phenomenal 25.0 percent fall in the past seven years, thanks to the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme and initiatives of building awareness among farmers.

The latest data of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) showed that the country's overall chemical pesticide use declined by 25.0 percent or 13,000 tonnes to 35,523 tonnes in 2015 from 48,690 tonnes in 2008.

The falling use of pesticides saved the country around Taka 650 crore during the period as the import cost for pesticide fell to Taka 180 crore in 2015 from Taka 828 crore in 2008.

"Introduction of biological pest management system like 'sex pheromones trap' under the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) helped farmers largely in containing the pest attack on some major crops", said Hamidur Rahman, Director General (DG) of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

He said farmers were used to apply a huge amount of pesticides on some major vegetables like cucumber, bottle guard, sweet gourd, tomato, okra, beans and brinjal. But the farmers are now using biological pest management system.

Rahman said rice farmers are also using 'perching' method to ensure judicious use of pesticides and to avoid the risks of indiscriminate use of such toxic chemical on health and environment.

"Use of harmful pesticides rose alarmingly to 61,000 tonnes in early 2008 as the farmers had no alternative to the chemical pesticides," said Dr Syed Nurul Alam, former divisional head (entomology) of the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI).

But now, he said, the application of chemical pesticides fell considerably, with increasing use of various eco-friendly methods for pest management, introduced under IPM programme.

A total of 18 bio-pesticide products have been provided import registration, said DAE's pest regulatory officer Mukhlesur Rahman.

On the other hand, he pointed out that the DAE cancelled import registration for sulpher, glychomet, paraquat, carboforun to phase out the use of hazardous pesticides.

M Abdul Bari, a Thai guava producer of Joynagar of Ishwardi, Pabna, said he spent Taka 3,000 for pesticides for a season, which was Taka 12,000 before using IPM.

"I am now using 'neem leaf to manage pest attack on guava," he said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)