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Farm Enterprises :: Biopesticide Unit

Pest problem is one of the major constraints for achieving higher production in agriculture crops. India loses about 30% of its crops due to pests and diseases each year. The damage due to these is estimated to be Rs.60,000 crores annually. The use of pesticides in crop protection has certainly contributed for minimising yield losses. The pesticides, which are needed to be applied carefully, only when the threshold limits of the pest population is exceeded. However, quite often the indiscriminate and unscientific use of pesticides has led to many problems, such as pests developing resistance, resurgence of once minor pest into a major problem besides environmental and food safety hazards.

The problem of insect-pest is acute in case of all the crops and especially so in case of commercial crops. The use of insecticides and pesticides have increased manifolds during the past 3 - 4 decades with the introduction of intensive cropping. The average consumption of pesticides in India is about 570 gms per ha. as compared to developed countries like Japan, Thailand and Germany where the consumption rate is 11 kg, 17 kg and 3 kg per ha, respectively. Though the average quantum of pesticides usage in India is low, the damage caused due to their indiscriminate usage and poor quality maintenance is alarming. Interms of value, much of the pesticide application is accounted for by a few crops. For example, cotton, paddy and vegetable crops account for 80% of the value of pesticides applied in India.

Pesticides or chemicals are meant to control harmful pests such as insects, nematodes, diseases, weeds etc. However, excessive use of pesticides not only leave residues in soil, water and air but also have adverse effects on the non target organisms such as pollinators, parasitoids, predators and wild animals. This has adversely affected the ecological balance resulting in pest resurgence, development of resistance in the pest species and environmental pollution. Development of pest resurgence and resistance has resulted in high cost of production and low income especially to cotton farmers in AP, Maharashtra.

In view of the several disadvantages associated with the unscientific use of pesticides in agriculture, there is an urgent need for minimising the use of chemical pesticides in the management of insect pests. Growing public concern over potential health hazards of synthetic pesticides and also steep increase in cost of cultivation/low profit making by farmers has led to the exploration of eco-friendly pest management tactics such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM aims at suppressing the pest species by combining more than one method of pest control in a harmonious way with least emphasis on the use of insecticides. In simple terms "IPM is the right combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures which provides the most effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable methods of managing diseases, pests and weeds". The major components of IPM are prevention, observation and intervention. The IPM seems to be the only answer to counter some of the major pests of crops, which have become unmanageable in recent years. The success of IPM largely depends upon conservation of naturally occuring bio control agents

The technology used were indigenous and the scientific aspects of production were standardised by ICAR Research Institutes and State Agricultural Universities. Machinaries and laboratory equipments are available from various manufacturers and are of BIS standards.

Objectives of Biopesticide Project Models

1. Land
Land is required for construction of culture and rearing rooms, processing room, laboratory, office etc. In the present models, we have assumed only rented buildings, hence no land cost has been considered except for poly house.

2. Building and civil works
Biopesticides production involves rearing of insects. Hence, the basic infrastructure to be created includes only the civil structures built in such a way as to provide environmental conditions suitable for rearing of insects. The production unit has to be located away from industrial unit to avoid pollution problems. For the proposed installed capacity, an estimated built up area of about 1000 sq ft is required for model-I (mass production of Trichogramma, Chrysoperla and Cryptolaemous beetles) & for Model-II (production of NPV, Trichoderma and pheromone lures) about 2400 sq.ft. area is required. Other utilities required are power, water and vehicle. Among others, the civil structure may be designed to have separate room for diet preparation, corcera culture, egg production, host culture etc. The host culture room for NPV production should be kept at a distance with proper hygiene and entry may be restricted in such a way to prevent any contamination. In other words, one should not enter host culture room after visiting a facility, where NPV is extracted from dead infected larvae.

3. Plant and Machinery
There is no requirement of heavy plant and machinery. Racks, trays and other facilities are required for rearing insects. Apart from this centrifuge, mixers and some fabricated equipments for insect collection and rearing are required. For production of Trichoderma fermentors, laminar flow apparatus etc. are required. All the machinery required are locally manufactured.

4. Raw material
For rearing of insects special diet is required which comprises of pulses, vitamins, antibiotics etc. For production of Trichoderma molasses-yeast medium, is required. All these materials are available locally.

5. Water
The water requirement is mainly for feed preparation, washing, cleeaning, drinking etc.. Water quality should be tested to establish the suitability.

6. Power
Power supply is essential for bio-pesticide units. Electricity charges under recurring cost are considered in the models.

7. Manpower
Production of bio-pesticides required skilled manpower. There is need for a number of labourers at each stage of production. The project is labour intensive. The manpower requirement is as under:

At present, in some states, state government is purchasing the product from the private parties and selling it to the individual farmers at a subsidized rate.

Regulatory measures
As the bio-control agents are living organisms, it is very important to have effective regulatory measures. The quality control of commercial bioagents must be strictly enforced by the Government. In this connection, the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, GOI have issued guidelines/data requirements for registration of bio-pesticides in the country. As per this, all the units have to meet the Indian standards and technical specifications to be eligible for registration under the Insecticides Act, 1968.

Bio-pesticides Registration
At present, Bacillus thuringensis, neem based formulations, microbial pesticides like fungi, NPV etc., are included in the schedule of Insecticides Act, 1968. This ensures the quality of bio-pesticides at farmers level. The standard parameters, protocols for data generation, guidelines for registration are prepared and circulated to prospective entrepreneurs by MoA. Now as such, any person dealing with biopesticides without registration is ill-legal.


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