Sustainable insect pest management in Indian cotton

Russell, D A and McCaffery, A and Kranthi, K and Regupathy, A and Jadhav, D R and et al, . (2001) Sustainable insect pest management in Indian cotton. In: Perspectives on pests: Achievements of Research under the UK Department for International Development's Crop Protection Programme, 1996-2000. Natural Resources International Limited, Chautham, UK, pp. 95-97. ISBN 0-9539274-1-5

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Throughout the cotton-growing areas of India, intensified production, increased use of irrigation and the excessive use of pesticides have led to the major cotton pests evolving resistance to the chemicals used against them: for example, resistance to common pyrethroids used in bollworm control can reach close to 100% by the end of the cotton season in heavily sprayed areas. This resistance encourages the application of more and stronger insecticides, leading to a classic 'pesticide treadmill'. Two related projects, focusing on southern India (R6734) and the irrigated cotton-growing systems of the Punjab (R6760*) have developed and tested integrated pest management (lPM) packages of methods that reduce the need for insecticides. Using the recommended IPM methods, farmers encourage the build-up of the bollworm's natural predators, and target limited sprays of recommended insecticides on the pest only when absolutely necessary. The results have been dramatic. Reduced costs of production and increased yields of cotton resulted in massively increased incomes to farmers. In the last (1998/99) season, farmers using the IPM package in southern India achieved average profits of £176 per ha, compared with £38 per ha for other farmers. Farmers' strong enthusiasm generated by these results attracted widespread coverage by local news media, and this in turn has fuelled strong demands for expansion into other districts. Use of the recommended IPM package has already reduced hazards to the environment and human health, and improved the profitability and reliability of cotton harvests for hundreds of poor rural families dependent on the cotton crop. The future widespread adoption of these methods now seems assured, and will have a major and sustainable impact on improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, on human welfare and on the environment.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Others > Entomology
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 02:44
Last Modified: 27 Dec 2011 10:07
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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