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Asia rice output threatened by pesticide overuse
The unbridled manufacture and use of pesticides in Asia is raising the spectre of “pest storms” devastating the region’s rice farms and threatening food security, scientists have warned. Increased production of cheap pesticides in China and India, lax regulation and inadequate farmer education are destroying ecosystems around paddies, allowing pests to thrive and multiply, they said.
The problem has emerged over the last decade and — if left unchecked — pests could lay waste to vast tracts of Asia’s rice farms, according to scientists who took part in a workshop in Singapore last week. “There is increasing concern that the more we use pesticides in rice fields, it is actually making the pest problem worse,” Australian scientist George Lukacs told AFP in an interview. Under pressure to raise yields to meet growing demand, poorly trained farmers tend to be over-reliant on the chemicals. “There are big outbreaks of pests or what they are calling in China ‘pest storms’ as a result of the over-application of pesticides,” Lukacs said.
Rice is a staple throughout much of Asia, including the world’s two most populous countries China and India, making the region vulnerable to soaring food prices and supply problems, economists say. Lukacs, a workshop co-organiser, said that in China and other parts of Asia, the unregulated use of chemicals has led to pests developing resistance.
The problem is compounded by indiscriminate application, which has destroyed the ecosystem surrounding the paddies, including the predators such as spiders and dragonflies that would normally keep pest numbers down.
“The predator pressure is gone and the pests don’t respond (to pesticides) because they develop resistance very quickly,” Lukacs said. Lukacs, senior principal research scientist with the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research at James Cook University, said responsibility lies with the pesticide companies, governments and local communities.
Once a pesticide is registered with a country’s national authority, there is no monitoring of how it is used, he said. “It’s a serious problem and the worst is that we haven’t seen the full effects yet.”
Benefits of Soil Organic Matter
Study Shows Organic Agriculture Promotes Natural Pest Control
A recent study from scientists at Washington State University and the University of Georgia found that in conventional potato fields, one species accounted for 80% of the organisms present, while in the organic fields, the dominant species never accounted for more than 38%. The Study analyzed the impact of species diversity and the “evenness” of populations, on pest control and feeding damage in organic and conventional potato fields in Washington State, where evenness refers to the degree to which ant one organism dominates and ecosystem. The more one organism is found in an ecosystem the less degree of evenness is present.
One of the fundamental principles of organic agriculture is that with diverse farming practices, the innate ability and resilience of natural systems to fend against pests and disease is strengthened. Conventional farming systems create ecological vacuums that only a few, highly dominant types of organisms are able to exploit. Organic farming, by promoting diversity among natural organisms, is able to mitigate the damage that these dominant species can cause, as they are not easily able to take over any given ecological system.
The higher degree of evenness in the organic fields translated into lower pest populations and plants that were 35% larger than their conventional counterparts. The study combined both field work on the farms in Washington State and a meta-analysis of 38 published studies which focused on predatory-prey levels and impacts on yields. The researchers concluded that organic farming, with its higher evenness of natural pest enemies, increased yield.
Sources: Crowder, D.W., Northfield, T.D., Strand, M.R., and W.E. Snyder. 2010. “Organic agriculture promotes evenness and natural pest control,” Nature Vol. 466: 109-112.
The Society of Nematology and other organizations estimate global crop losses due to nematodes at $100 billion annually, making it agricultures largest unmet pest control need. In strawberry production, it has been estimated that 40 percent of the United States strawberry acreage is infested with nematodes and 70 percent of the acreage receives chemical nematicide treatment.
Nico Orgo Manures is a Patron Member of Division of Nematology Lal Bahadur Shastri Building Indian Agricultural Research Institute New Delhi
In Orissa an RTI reply from OUAT indicates that the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and NPM (Non pesticidal pest management) has done better than all the other measures in trying to control the fruit and stem borer. Should we aim at safe methods like NPM and IPM or choose the toxic Bt varieties in cotton and brinjal?
This information availed from OUAT shows that the damage in yield of Brinjal can be reduced through IPM And NPM. In fact fruit yield could be enhanced to 264.6 q/ha through NPM, i.e. by application of neem oil cake at land preparation and spraying multineem, installation of leucin lure, plucking of damaged shoots.
The Chairman of the expert committee, admitted in an interview to CNN IBN that, “Genetically Engineered food products will not be equal to the non-genetically engineered food products. That’s for sure. Now, how much damage, we do not know at this stage”!
source : www.orissadairy.com
Organic Agriculture and Climate Change
Climate change is a critical issue for agriculture and world food security and the international organic movement has an important role to play in helping farmers both to adapt to increasingly erratic and extreme weather and to reduce emissions and capture carbon. Organic agriculture’s avoidance of chemical nitrogen fertilizers and effectiveness in sequestering high levels of carbon in the soil is a major advantage over conventional agriculture. Based on nearly 30 years of soil carbon data, as outlined in their recent research report, the Rodale Institute estimates that organic farms could sequester 39% of global annual carbon emissions if the world’s cropland utilized organic agricultural practices including nitrogen-fixing cover crops and intensive compost inputs as promoted in their climate change campaign video. Rodale is one of a number of affiliates that has been very active in advocating for the climate benefits of organic agriculture. More information is available in this impressive interview with CEO Timothy LaSalle, as well as from LaSalle’s contribution in the upcoming issue of Ecology and Farming, which is focused on organic farming research.
The mitigation potential of organic agriculture has also been investigated in a recent F AO (Food & Agriculture Organizations of the UN) publication led by FiBL (The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture). The report, available here (ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ai781e/ai781e00.pdf), estimates that global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent of up to 85% of total current agricultural emissions, could be mitigated if agriculture was converted to organic production. This figure is achieved without intensive compost application.
Source: iFOAM Newsletter
A cost-benefit analysis revealed that the highest net profit per acre accrued to an IPM plot compared to the control site.
Similar results were achieved at several sites across three southern Indian states, and with four important crops: tomato, okra, eggplant, and cucurbits during the cropping span of 2008-2009.
Kaushik, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Dabari Seth Block, Habitat Place, Lodhi Rd., New Delhi 110003, INDIA. Kaushikn@teri.res.in.
Fax: 91-11-246-82144. Voice: 91-11-246-82100.
“ORGO” proves beneficial to farmers.
An article as appeared in the daily newspaper DAINIK BHASKAR Pali edition Rajasthan 5th January 2009.
Blended fertiliser improves yields
Farmers are reaping the benefits from the use of “ORGO”. They are enthusiastic about their increased profits and yield with reduced irrigation . Castor, wheat mustard and tomatoes could be harvested earlier with the use of “ORGO”.The high quality of yield brought in higher profits.
How ORGO is made
According to Gujarat based farmer Kanubhai Vyas, castor cake, karanj cake, neem cake, mustard cake, and denicotinised tobacco dust are blended to make this fertiliser. Its use reduces crop disease and it helps in nitrification inhibition and therefore improves fertiliser use efficiency when used with UREA.
Benefits to the farmer
The use of “ORGO” is very beneficial. According to the farmers, its use greatly reduces the need for chemical fertiliser. It reduces wastage in crop cultivation.
2008 Year of the Potato This farmer has used inputs from NICO ORGO MANURES and grown a potato 820 gms in weight. more…
Why Organic Farming – Principles and Practice of Organic Farming
N-Guard (Natural Nitrification Inhibitor) in increasing the yield of chillies (var. Namdhari-NS 1707) Experiment conducted at the companies research farm in Dakor.
Scientific Commons: Field Assessment of the Nematicidal Properties…
Field Assessment of the Nematicidal Properties of Neem (Azadirachta Indica) Against the Root-Knot Nematode, Meloidogyne Incognita on Infected Tomato…
Plant seeds, starts for winter garden
Scotts Valley Banner – Felton, CA, USA
Spray with a strong stream of water, or use a pesticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap to control. To reduce the number of sites that harbor insects and …
Ask the plant and pest professor
Maryland Gazette – Glen Burnie, MD, USA
Neem oil is an effective botanical insecticide that does the job and is safe for an eating crop. It also will control grape berry moth….
Growing great roses is easier than you think
Albuquerque Tribune – Albuquerque,NM,USA
For controlling and preventing diseases on roses such as black spot and powdery mildew, neem has many fans. As an insecticide, neem is effective at …
Pesticides alone won’t usually control whiteflies
Mail Tribune – Medford,OR,USA
If any spraying should prove necessary, try insecticidal soaps and/or insecticidal oils like neem. These will provide some control of whiteflies and will be …