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Plant Protection

Plant Protection continues to play a significant role in achieving targets of crop production. The major thrust areas of plant protection are promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (External website that opens in a new window), ensuring availability of safe and quality pesticides for sustaining crop production from the ravages of pests and diseases, streamlining the quarantine measures for accelerating the introduction of new high yielding crop verities, besides eliminating the chances of entry of exotic pests and for human resource development including empowerment of women in plant protection skills.

Following three Plan Schemes are being implemented by Plant Protection Division of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (External website that opens in a new window) through Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage.

Strengthening and Modernisation of Pest Management Approach in India Components

On the recommendation of Planning Commission the Schemes at A to D have been merged as a single scheme i.e. "Strengthening and Modernisation of Pest Management Approach in India" with a total outlay of Rs.99.95 crore during Tenth Five year Plan (2002-2007).

Promotion of integrated Pest-Management

Keeping in view the ill effects of chemical pesticides such as development of pest resistance, pest resurgence, outbreak of secondary pests, pesticide residues in food, fodder, soil, air and water resulting in human health hazards and ecological imbalances, Government of India has adopted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (External website that opens in a new window) as the cardinal principle and main plank of plant protection strategy in the country. IPM is an eco-friendly approach aimed at minimum use of chemical pesticides by employing available alternative methods for pest control like cultural, mechanical and biological and use of bio-pesticides.

To enhance the production of bio-control agents/bio-pesticides, Government of India earmarked Rs.1500 lakh as grants-in-aid during the Eighth and Ninth Plans for establishment of 29 State Bio-control Laboratories of which an amount of Rs.1372 lakh has been released to States. During the Tenth Plan, an amount of Rs.470 lakh has been approved of which Rs.405 lakh has already been released so far for the said purpose.

With the adoption of IPM approach, consumption of pesticides has come down from 72,133 MT (tech. grade) during 1991-92 to 40,672 MT (tech. grade) during 2004-05 and there is consistent increase in use of bio-pesticides which are environmentally safe. In some of the States, farmers have stopped using chemical pesticides and have adopted organic farming.

Locust Control and Research

The Locust Warning Organisation, Jodhpur with its 10 Locust circle offices and 1 Field Station monitors two lakh sq. km. Scheduled Desert Area in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana for locust surveillance and control. During 2005-06, an area of 150 lakh hectares has been surveyed and 24 locust bulletins have been issued. Close liaison is being maintained with other locust prone countries and the FAO to keep watch over possible locust invasion. The 24th Session of FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South West Asia was held in New Delhi from 10-14 January 2005. During the year 2005-06, 7 Indo-Pak Border Meetings were conducted with the officers of Pakistan.

Training in Plant Protection

Until 1966, there was no national training facility in India to cater to the needs of the States. To bridge this gap, the National Plant Protection Training Institute was established in 1966 at Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh). The Institute has been recognised as a Regional Training Centre for Plant Protection by Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and also as an Advanced Centre for training in Plant Protection Technology by the World Bank. The Institute has conducted 912 courses and trained 16,747 officers/officials including 216 foreign trainees up to 2005-06.

Implementation of Insecticides Act

Pesticides are commonly used in crop protection measures for sustaining food production. These are also used for the control of vector borne diseases. As they are meant for killing insect pests and, therefore, toxic by their nature. Their misuse or abuse may result in hazards to human beings, animals and the environment. Therefore, pesticides are required to be used safely and judiciously. Keeping this in view, their import, manufacture, sale and use, etc., are being regulated under the Insecticides Act, 1968 and the Rules framed there under. The provisions under the Act ensure the availability of safe, effective and quality pesticides to the farmers.

The Central Government has constituted the Central Insecticides Board under Section 4 of the Insecticides Act, 1968 to advise the Central and State Governments on technical matters arising out of the administration of this Act. The Director General, Health Services is the Chairman with 29 members. The Central Government has constituted a Registration Committee to register pesticides after examining their formulae verifying their efficacy and safety to human beings, animals and environment.

The Government of India has also set up a Central Insecticides Laboratory with the major objectives of pre and post registration verification of the properties, performance and hazards of pesticides and the proposed use claimed by the manufacturers. To supplement the resources of the States/UTs in the analysis of pesticides, two Regional Pesticides Testing Laboratories have also been set up at Chandigarh and Kanpur with an analysis capacity of 900 samples per annum each.

Plant Quarantine Facilities in India

Plant Quarantine regulatory measures are operative through the "Destructive insects & pests Act, 1914 (Act 2 of 1914) (External website that opens in a new window)" in the country. The purpose and intent of this Act is to prevent the introduction of any insect, fungus or other pest, which is or may be destructive to crops. The import of agricultural commodities is presently regulated through the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 issued under DIP Act, 1914 incorporating the provisions of New Policy on Seed Development, 1988. Further, the significance of Plant Quarantine has increased in view of Globalisation and liberalisation in International trade of plants and plant material in the wake of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement under WTO. The phytosanitary certification of agricultural commodities being exported is also undertaken through the scheme as per International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), 1951.

The primary objectives of the Scheme are:

  • To prevent the introduction and spread of exotic pests that are destructive to crops by regulating/restricting the import of plants/plant products and
  • To facilitate safe global trade in agriculture by assisting the producers and exporters by providing a technically competent and reliable phytosanitary certificate system to meet the requirements of trading partners.

The major activities under the scheme include:

  • Inspection of imported agricultural commodities for preventing the introduction of exotic pests and diseases inimical to Indian Fauna and Flora.
  • Inspection of agricultural commodities meant for export as per the requirements of importing countries under International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
  • Detection of exotic pests and diseases already introduced for containing/ controlling them by adopting domestic quarantine regulations.
  • Undertaking Post Entry Quarantine Inspection in respect of identified planting materials.
  • Conducting the Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) to finalise phytosanitary requirements for import of plant/plant material.

There are 35 Plant quarantine Stations at different Airports, Seaports and Land frontiers implementing the Plant Quarantine regulations. The NPQS, New Delhi and RPQSs at Chennai, Kolkata, Amritsar and Mumbai have been strengthened with modern equipment for plant quarantine testing, etc., to facilitate speedy clearance of imports and exports under the FAO-UNDP Project.

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement of WTO envisages application of Phytosanitary measures based on scientific justifications therefore it is imperative to conduct all Plant Quarantine inspections as per the International Standards/guidelines. Accordingly, the National Standards for Phytosanitary Measures for some of the important activities have already been developed and adopted including the Guidelines for Development of National Standards for Phytosanitary Measures and six draft National Standards are under the process of approval. The Standards which are critical for our exports have been prioritised. Further, a National Integrated Fruit Fly Surveillance Programme has also been prepared with a view to establish pest-free areas against fruit flies. To streamline the Plant Quarantine activities, efforts are being made to computerise the Plant Quarantine Stations for speedy and transparent functioning.

Substantial efforts have also been made towards the international cooperation on the phytosanitary matters including participation in IPPC Standard Committee meetings for development of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, Training of fumigation service providers and regulators in methyl bromide fumigation under the Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme, finalisation of SPS Protocol for export of mango to China, harmonisation of phytosanitary measures with reference to Seed trade through the Workshops organised by Asia Pacific Seed Association (APSA) (External website that opens in a new window) , negotiations on free trade agreement with Thailand and Singapore, Memorandum of Understanding and work plan with Chile for cooperation on Phytosanitary matters and Indo-Nepal Joint trade and economic development negotiations.

Monitoring of Pesticide Residues

The subject "Monitoring of Pesticide Residues" has been allocated to the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (External website that opens in a new window) by the Cabinet Secretariat. Monitoring of pesticide residues at the national level is essential to ensure food safety in the country. Further, it is essential to ensure that our export consignments are not rejected due to presence of pesticide residues. The Scheme has been approved with an outlay of Rs.24 crore during the Tenth Plan.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 07-01-2011