IPM-a promise to pest control and environment safety

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Agriculture, being dominant sector of economy, contributes 22% in to the Gross Domestic product (GDP) and engages 44% of employed labour force. No doubt all roads to the nations socio-economic progress and prosperity lead through a modernizing agriculture. Instead of its undeniable significanceunfortunately, Pakistan has made no significant development in this field, due to economic and some policy constraints. As for as plant protection measurements are concerned, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach in pest management program that relies on a combination of common-sense practice. Thereby recent trends in field of Entomology and Integrated Pest Management have revolutionized the ways for the management of serious insect pests. IPM programs use current and comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control tactics, is used to manage pest infestation by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.


The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. Insect pest are the key factor among all other biotic factors that are responsible for low crop yield.The damage caused by insect pests may vary from 30 to 50% in major cash crops of the country. To combat these pests, our farmer community relies only upon the use of pesticides. It is estimated that farmers use US$ 300 million worth of pesticides annually, of which more than 85% insecticides applied in the field never reach to the target organism but disperse through air, water and soil.


The injudicious use of board spectrum insecticide and their impact on ecological system was brought to serious criticism in 1962 with the publication of silent spring by Rachel Carson.As the matter of fact the indiscriminate use of insecticides has raised serious problems of environmental contamination, presence of residual effects in food commodities, mortality of non-target organisms, resistance and resurgence of insect pest populations.


Now, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has recommended the “Ecosystem Approach” in agricultural management, including IPM, combining different management approaches to cultivate high quality crops and minimize pesticide use. It is, therefore, essential to develop such control methods, which should be host specific and eco-friendly. An alternative to chemical control is biological control, the use of natural enemies to control pest species including predators, parasitoids and microbial control with entomopathogens.


Naturally occurring bio-control agents are alternative to reverse the use of hazardous synthetic insecticides. Among these microorganisms, the use of entomopathogenic fungi having peculiar mode of control and ecofriendly behavior is found to be promising alternate for insects control. Todaythere is a worldwide considerable interest in using the biological control agents of pests, as alternatives to chemical pesticide. But still in Pakistan these conventional and harmful pesticides are used in field at large scale, thereby perturbing environment and polluting our food commodities. Now it is time to motivate and educate our farmer community towards Precision Agriculture that lies in the secret of Integrated Pest Management.


The author can be reached at <zaeem.mehdi@yahoo.com>


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Published in: Volume 07 Issue 16

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=15642