Ratan Tata Trust proj for pest mgnt in basmati

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Ludhiana, May 24: A research project with a budget layout of Rs 63.2 lakh to validate and disseminate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology in basmati, vegetable crops and maize has been sanctioned by Sir Ratan Tata Trust for Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

This calls for a need to validate and disseminate IPM technology for basmati in the state and check the indiscriminate use of pesticides on vegetables. Likewise, the use of IPM technology for maize is essential to curtail the pesticides use.

The insect pest on these crops can cause 15-70 per cent loss in production.

According to Dr P S Minhas, Director of Research, area under basmati in Punjab is likely to increase in the future. In view of resurgence of pest and need for awareness of bio-safety regulations, IPM is becoming relevant.

The existing IPM needs to be modified and strengthened to suit the basmati ecosystem, he said. Major emphasis will be given to imbibe non-chemical methods of pest management including bio-agents for this purpose.

Dr Minhas said the pest management on vegetables will receive priority with an aim to cut down the use of insecticides to mitigate the pesticides load. The project is significant in view of heavy attack of insect pests (stem borer, leaf folder and hoppers) on basmati.

The financial support extended for developing and implementing IPM will help to boost crop production and reduce dependence on pesticides.

According to Dr N S Malhi, Director of Extension Education, the farmer participatory research approved under the project would facilitate implementation of validation model of IPM. Scientists working on these crops as well as functionaries of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) will be involved in the project that will operate for three years.

Strengthening of the existing IPM technology in respect of basmati, vegetables and maize will pave the way for judicious use of pesticides, Dr Malhi stated. Under the said project, the insecticidal residues in vegetable crops will be regularly monitored and strategy will be evolved to minimize these residues, he said.

Principal Investigator of the project, Dr A K Dhawan is optimistic that the technology will be demonstrated in eight districts covering 16 selected villages of state.

The IPM technology for basmati will be implemented in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Nawansahar districts while for maize, it will cover Hoshiarpur and Nawansahar districts. For vegetables crops (cole crops, tomato, okra and brinjal) 8 more districts will be selected.

Besides, KVK scientists, the trained scouts and field coordinators will also be deployed to deliver the protection package to farmers in adopted villages, Dr Dhawan added.

UNI

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