Bhubaneswar, August 27 (LocalWire): In an attempt to curb pest attacks, which is a recurring problem for Odisha farmers, the state government has decided to launch a new information and communication technology-enabled pest policy.
A web and mobile-based crop pest surveillance system and ICT-enabled pest surveillance information system will be created to educate and sensitize farmers, said senior official of agriculture department.
The state pest policy is being given the final shape after consultation with experts from the entomology department of Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT), and entomologists from National Rice Research Institute of Cuttack and Central Integrated Pest Management Centre.
Aligning crop protection measures to pest surveillance system and integrated pest management system is the need of the hour. This sort of alignment is crucial for growth in farming. The farmers are being advised to prevent indiscriminate use of pesticides.
Regular pest surveillance and monitoring will be organized to assess pest and disease situation. The agro-eco-system will be assessed at the gram panchayat level by agronomists to advice timely IPM control measures. Awareness activities will be strengthened to popularise IPM approach among the farming community, the official said.
IPM and use of bio-pesticides will be promoted as the preferred option. Farmers’ own concoctions of bio-pesticides will not require any approval except for commercial sale. Chemical pesticides will not be permitted for sale in areas declared organic. Use of crop-protection chemicals will be recommended only where necessary, informed the officials.
The pesticide regulatory framework will be aligned with food safety laws to make its adoption broad-based. Besides pest control, the government is also prioritising seed treatment. While all seeds meant for sale will be mandatorily treated with the necessary plant protection chemicals, farmers will be encouraged to treat the seed saved by them for future use in a scientific manner.
The government has initiated steps to put in place a forecasting system to predict pest incidence based on weather parameters, historical and scientific data.
Pesticide procurement will be strictly based on quality. Its effectiveness will be monitored and low performing pesticides removed from the list.
A prescribed minimum number of samples of approved pesticides (1200 annually) will be taken every season and tested and necessary disciplinary and legal action initiated against defaulters.