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Grow Safe Food campaign for judicious use of pesticides

To promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, Agriculture Ministry has started a Central scheme “Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National level”
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The Government is implementing “Strengthening and Modernization of Pest Management Approach in India” through 35 Central Integrated Pest Management Centres (CIPMCs) of Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage established across the country with an aim to promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, Minister of State for Agriculture Sudarshan Bhagat said today.

Reply to a query in Lok Sabha Bhagat said that the CIPMCs produce biological agents for release in the fields, conserve natural bio-control agents, promote bio-pesticides as an alternative to chemical pesticides and advocate judicious and safe use of chemical pesticides as a last resort. “These activities are implemented through Farmers Field Schools (FFSs), 2 days and 5 days training programmes and season long training program for State Agriculture Extension officers and NGOs/Private Bodies,” he added..

According to him, a ‘Grow Safe Food’ campaign has been initiated to carry the message of safe and judicious use of pesticides to farmers and other stakeholders. A simple message related to five essential principles of judicious pesticide use - application of pesticides on the right crop, against pests for which the pesticide has been approved, at the right time, in approved doses, and as per approved method of application - is sought to be disseminated in regional languages in Gram Panchayats and rural areas.

“Package of practices for control of pests and diseases in 79 crops have been revised to include techniques to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and encourage use of bio-pesticides and other alternative plant protection measures, the Minister said..

He said that the government registers pesticides after a detailed evaluation of efficacy of the product and safety to human, animal and environmental health. Technical reviews are carried out from time to time to assess the safety of pesticides. An expert committee was constituted under Dr. Anupam Verma, Former Professor, Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), to carry out technical review of 66 pesticides that are banned, restricted, withdrawn in one or more countries but continued to be registered in India. The Expert Committee, inter alia, recommended 13 pesticides to be banned, 27 pesticides to be reviewed in 2018 after completion of certain technical studies and 6 pesticides to be phased out by 2020.

The Committee further recommended continuation of ban on 1 pesticide and did not offer any assessment of a pesticide which is currently sub judice.

The government is encouraging establishment of Bio-fertilizer units by providing financial assistance to State Government up to a maximum limit of Rs 160.00 lakh per unit. Financial assistance is also provided to farmers/Individual/Private agencies @ 25% of total financial outlay or Rs. 40 lakh, whichever is less under Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. 

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