Promotion Of Biopesticides In Agriculture Sector Is Critical
Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan that promotion of biopesticides in the agriculture sector is critical because chemical insect control poses a serious threat to health and the ecosystem.
Excessive chemical use on crops poses health and environmental risks, necessitating the promotion of insect biopesticides in the agriculture sector across the country.
Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), stated on Tuesday that the promotion of biopesticides in the agriculture sector is critical because chemical insect control poses a serious threat to health, the environment, and the ecosystem.
During a training workshop titled “Aflatoxin Biocontrol: An Innovative Approach to Regulatory Harmonization in Pakistan for Maximum Residual Limits and Bio-Pesticides,” organised by the Department of Entomology UAF in collaboration with CABI, USAID, PARC, and NARC, he stated that the excessive use of chemicals on crops was posing health and environmental risks.
He stated that adopting the most recent scientific trends was critical in order to combat agricultural challenges and ensure food security and public health. Pests and diseases, according to the VC UAF, are a constant problem for farmers throughout the growing season, and bio-control must be promoted.
According to UAF Dean Faculty of Agriculture Prof. Dr. Muhammad Sarwar, chemical control was a common solution to pest attacks, but it was harmful to human and animal health, and pesticide use also leads to export confiscation in the international market.
Prof. Dr. Sohail Ahmad, Chairman of the Entomology Department at UAF, stated that Pakistan was the largest red-chilli producing country, with 141 chillies produced.
5 million metric tons. As many as 61 consignments of red chilli were rejected due to aflatoxins in 2022–21, he said, adding that as a member of the World Trade Organization, Pakistan was having difficulties meeting the SPS requirements of trading countries, which affected agricultural product exports.
Pesticides, according to UAF entomologist Prof. Dr. Jalal Arif, are causing many diseases, including cancer, and have dangerous effects not only on human health but also on animals, the air, and water.
He expressed concern about the country’s lack of MRL (maximum residue limits) labs. However, he added that MRL studies were necessary because hazardous materials crossing the MRL were causing negative behavioural changes in society.
He claimed that the country was importing pesticides worth Rs 90 billion, which was a major source of concern. Biochemical pesticides, he explained, are naturally occurring substances that control pests through non-toxic mechanisms.
On this occasion, UAF entomologists Dr. Pervez Ahmad, Dr. Hamid Bashir, Dr. Atif Jamal from PARC, Deputy Director of Development Dr. Sabyan Faris, and Dr. Shahid Majeed spoke.