Science Of Safety
CAN YOU DO FARMING WITHOUT PESTICIDES?
The NPM experiences & evidence Yes, you can, as the Andhra Pradesh experience of NPM shows very, very convincingly. In fact, pesticides have ended up bringing in more pests as many analyses show. The balance in our farms, where certain â€˜beneficial insects and organismsâ€™ were keeping the pests under control, got upset by chemical pesticides. Newer and more pests, in addition to resistance building up in pests have resulted from pesticides. NPM or organic farming looks at the science of pest management differently, understanding that Nature has in-built pest-predator relationships that need to be restored, that each pest has particular life stages and behaviour patterns that can be used to control its growth and proliferation, that diversity-based cropping is important to create â€˜push-pullâ€™ factors for pests, that there is a relationship between soil and plant health and pest incidence, between fertilizer use and pest incidence, between monocropping and pest incidence and so on and so forth. This new science of pest management does not seek to kill pests to control them but seeks to manage them using a variety of processes and products of Nature. NPM shows that No Pesticides would mean No Pests, when accompanied by an understanding of crop ecosystems and soil eco-systems and therefore, by the adoption of some simple, inexpensive and safe practices. http://takingroots.in/ipm_npm will give you more information on all the practices available for successful NPM of crops, across crops for different pests.
The next obvious question that one would have is: would not this decrease yields and production? Would not this mean losses to farmers then? NO! NPM reduces cost of cultivation for farmers, thereby improving their net profit margins. Further, an evaluation study (Evaluation Report (October 2010), Third Party Evaluation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY/National Agriculture Development Program) - Community Managed Organic Farming implemented by SERP: Dr R Ratnakar and Dr M Surya Mani, Extension Education Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India) done by agriculture scientists of this Andhra Pradesh NPM experience shows that yields have actually improved in several crops or stayed the same in others. Farmers in the locations where NPM has been adopted are reporting lesser borrowings for farming costs due to reduced need for buying and using external inputs and greater net incomes. Acute pesticide poisoning cases have come down too. www.kisanswaraj.in/wp-content/uploads/Ecologically_sound_economically_viable.pdf is a World Bank report on this project. A quiet and large revolution in Andhra Pradesh, led by women farmers is showing the path forward in this country. It is time that the path of these wise and well-informed women is followed by others.
Apart from NPM, there are many other agro-ecological approaches like organic farming, natural farming, bio-dynamic farming and so on, practiced by lakhs of farmers in this country (with very little support from the government or others, essentially swimming against the tide) and if we all step forward to support such farming, our food can be made safer.