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Earlier, wheat did not have very much o f a problem with weeds and, as they are broad leaved, what little there was could easily be controlled by 2,4-D.

Intensive cultivation and rice/wheat rotations have, however, introduced new weeds like Phallaris minor and Avena fatua which, being m o n o c o t s, require very selective herbicides that have to be imported. Future intensive wheat growing and storage will certainly require m o r e use o f chemicals.

7.2. Rice: beginning to have an impact

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1952 t o nearly 4 4 million tonnes in 1 9 7 3 - 7 4, i.e. it doubled in 20 years, but f r o m then o n further increase seemed to be very difficult. The recent increase f r o m 53 t o 54 million tonnes f r o m 1977 is mainly because o f starting cultivation o f upland rice in non-traditional areas like the Punjab and Haryana (Fig. 4).

It w o u l d thus seem that the increase in production o f rice, although substantial, is n o t as spectacular as that o f wheat. Despite introduction o f H Y V s and other inputs like fertilizers, the average yield o f rice per hectare in the country has risen marginally f r o m 1080 kg/ha in 1964—65 with traditional varieties to 1330 kg/ha in 1 9 7 8 - 8 1 with H Y V s (Fig. 4). This is only a very modest improvement. The reasons f o r the lower productivity increases in rice are many but the main one is that, being a kharif crop, it is highly susceptible t o insect pests, diseases and weeds.

Even applied nitrogen cannot be efficiently utilized under conditions that are necessary for rice growing. A l s o, normal plant protection measures are not efficient under high rainfall and temperature conditions.

A m o n g the rice diseases that severely limit production in epidemic years are blast disease {P. oryzae), bacterial blight (X. oryzae) and virus diseases o f various types. Only a f e w o f these can be controlled economically by fungicidal chemicals.

A m o n g the insect pests, stem borer, gall midge and rice bug cause great damage, but they can be controlled by timely application o f chemicals.

Introduction o f H Y V s has actually increased the pest problem in rice. A n example is b r o w n plant hoppers, which previously only caused damage in Japan but which have n o w b e c o m e a p r o b l e m wherever new varieties have been introduced.

The attractive factors are probably the increased number o f tillers and denser plantings, creating a favourable environment f o r this insect near the base o f the plant. India suffered heavily f r o m BPH attack in 1 9 7 3 - 7 4 and periodically since then in smaller areas. In many ways the new H Y V s are also responsible f o r aggravating the weed problem, which used t o be suppressed by tall varieties.

IAEA-SM-263/35 The potential for increasing rice production is very high as the highest yield so far obtained under the adequate plant protection umbrella in national demonstration plots is well over 8000 kg/ha, but whether such inputs will be economical or not is another consideration. Existing chemicals, especially the more recent very potent ones like synthetic pyrethroids, disturb the rice ecosystem, in particular the rice/fish culture. Possibly new chemicals designed especially for rice will launch another 'Green Revolution'.

Plant protection measures have been more successful under the upland conditions o f the Punjab and Haryana where water management is easy and where there are no pests.

An area o f great interest in rice growing is the efficiency o f utilization o f nitrogenous fertilizers; under tropical conditions it is only 30 to 40%. Efforts to increase this efficiency by using chemicals like N-serve and AM are well known, but excellent progress has been made by using indigenous materials like neem indica) cake [16], which has been found to be comparable to N-serve.

{Azadirachta Large-scale application will improve the nitrogen e c o n o m y in rice.

7.3. Cotton: registered real impact

India has the largest area in the world under cotton (8 million hectares) and production in 1982 is also expected to be a record o f 8.5 million bales.

Figure 5 shows h o w production has increased during the last 15 years. It is mainly due to the rise in productivity. While other inputs like fertilizers, new hybrid varieties and irrigation have all contributed handsomely to achieve this, the major contribution has undoubtedly come from applying pesticides. This crop alone consumes more than 50 to 52% of all pesticides and requires every possible pest control measure to achieve a really g o o d yield. Being a cash crop, application o f pesticides is not uneconomic.

Cotton suffers damage from many pests and diseases, about 12 o f which are important, but two deserve special mention as they cause about 80% o f the total losses: jassids (early stage) and bollworms (bud, flowering, boll stage). Other pests cause damage sporadically and are space bound, but there is a distinct possibility that some o f them may become major pests because pest-resistant, poor yielders like Arboreum and Herbaceum are being replaced by Hirsutum varieties that produce high yields o f quality fibre but require protection from pests, and because m o n o culture extends in a continuous belt from north to south. A large number o f chemicals are used on cotton but the newly discovered synthetic pyrethroids seem to be wonder chemicals in this respect.

After the initial success with chemicals, problems have n o w arisen. Indiscriminate use o f large amounts o f chemicals is causing resistance development and ecological imbalance. Pest control costs are rising as more sprays are required and 18 MUKERJEE

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the only way t o derive full advantage f r o m the chemicals will be t o adopt integrated pest management techniques, using cultural, sanitary and other c o m p o n e n t s [17].

Pesticides have also registered similar impacts on other cash crops, such as sugar-cane ( 6 0 million tonnes in 1955 t o 150 million tonnes in 1980), t o b a c c o ( 0. 3 million tonnes in 1955 t o 0.45 million tonnes in 1977), tea (0.3 million tonnes in 1955 to 0.6 million tonnes in 1977) and c o f f e e. In fact, all give a better return with pesticides.

7. 4. Sorghum, pulses and oil-seeds: with some irrigation pesticides could have an impact

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5.7 474 387 11.0 6.7 6.4 9.9 1965 7.6 524 9.3 11.8 1970 8.1 6.7 9.9 1972 7.0 8.5 643 10.0 1974 10.4 9.9 651 591 13.0 1975 9.5 494 7.8 667 11.4 1976 10.5 8.9 740 12.0 1977 12.1 515 10.0 12.2 11.4 708 1978 Source: Ref. [18].

and improved hybrid varieties, have been demonstrated. However, as can be seen in Table VII [18], productivity and production have shown little improvement over the years. As with rice, the heavy incidence o f pests like shootfly, stemborer, midge, etc., especially on new hybrid varieties, is the main yield-limiting factor.

Chemical control with carbofuran has been successfully demonstrated but it is practised only in limited areas and farmers are not willing to invest in chemicals as there is an economic risk involved due to uncertain rains. The pesticide umbrella will work best in these areas provided irrigation is assured.

Only recently have pulses and oil-seeds started receiving attention. Although the area under pulses is about 25.7 million hectares, only 2.92 million hectares are irrigated. Production has actually decreased and now stands at about 12 million tonnes, providing per capita protein o f only 10 g, which is very meagre. Pests are again a limiting factor, but available protection technology with a variety o f chemicals can easily raise the production to 15 to 18 million tonnes. Again, farmers are unwilling to invest in chemicals and fertilizers as these crops do not provide sufficient return unless they are at least partially irrigated.



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Source: Ref. [19].

Pest control in oil-seed crops is a much more difficult problem. T w o decades ago India exported substantial quantities o f edible oils but currently the country is compelled to import large quantities to meet internal demands. From 1950 to 1978 production only increased from 5.5 million tonnes to about 10.0 million tonnes, but the area under cultivation has virtually remained static at about

17.4 million hectares and the productivity is not only low but fluctuates violently.

Groundnut, the major oil-seed crop, accounting for more than 50% o f the total production, suffers seriously from white grubs, especially in the new areas o f Rajasthan. Chemical control for this pest is not yet economical. Mustard, the second most important oil-seed crop (production 2 million tonnes), suffers seriously from aphid attack from time to time, resulting in fluctuations o f yield.

Chemical control and g o o d varieties are available, but unless much larger areas are brought under irrigation investments in fertilizers and pesticides will not be economic.

All these crops are now receiving serious attention and hopefully the impact o f pesticides will soon be visible, but at the moment pesticide use alone has not resulted in much improvement in yield.


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PRADHAN, S., Pesticides (Annual, 1973) 6.

Pesticides in Indian Agriculture, NCAER (India) Report (1967).

PROGRAMME EVALUATION ORGANISATION, Planning Commission (India), Reports 62 (1968) 222; 65 (1968) 91; 67 (1968) 206; 6 8 ( 1 9 6 8 ) 166.

SINGH, D. et al., Indian Phytopathol. 2 4 ( 1 9 7 1 ) 446.

BANERIEE, A.K., Pesticides (Annual, 1 9 8 0 - 8 1 ) 3.

VEERESH, G.K., PATIL KULKARNI, B.G., Pesticides 12 12(1981) 3.

BANERJEE, A.K., Pesticides (Annual, 1 9 8 0 - 8 1 ) 5.

VIIAYAGOPALAN, S., Pesticides (Annual, 1978) 7.

BANERIEE, A.K., Pesticides (Annual, 1 9 8 0 - 8 1 ) 12.

CHADHA, S.S., Pesticides (Annual, 1978) 10.

Indian Pesticide Industry (DAVID, B.V., Ed.), Vishvas Publications, Bombay (1981) 7.

The Economic Scene, Supplement 4 12 (1979) 9.

Anon., Pesticides (Annual, 1 9 8 0 - 8 1 ) 8.

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION, INDIA, Annual Report, Directorate of Plant Protection ( 1 9 8 0 - 8 1 ).

MUKERII, S.P., Souvenir publication of 12th Int. Congr. Soil Sci., New Delhi (1982) 120.

PRASAD, R., DE, R., Indian Farming (1980) 87.

AGARWAL, R.A., Richer Harvest 1 (1978) 27, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION INDIA, Estimates of Area and Production of Principal Crops in India, Directorate of Economics and Statistics (1979).

SWAMINATHAN, M.S., Souvenir publication of 12th Int. Congr. Soil Sci., New Delhi (1982) 115.



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Pesticides play an important role in agriculture in the United States of America and are a major economic entity in the US production of synthetic organic chemicals. Herbicides are the leading class of pesticides from both an annual production (680 000 t) and sales (US $2.7 billion) standpoint. Many of the early perceived environmental problems caused by pesticides were due to persistent chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. These were usually outside the agricultural environment and primarily due to their ubiquitous detection in certain fish and wildlife species. Subsequent to the ban of many chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides in the USA, most of the environmental problems can be sub-divided under two major categories: (a) environmental processes and (b) specific compounds and/or their by-products.

While economic data are available on sales and production of pesticides, no overall economic assessment exists on the problems posed by these processes and by-products. The major environmental processes that have received extensive study are movement, persistence and plant uptake, adaptation and exposure. The specific by-products of pesticides that stimulated wide environmental interest were the dioxins associated with the phenoxy herbicides, ethylenethioureas associated with ethylenebis(dithiocarbamate) fungicides and the nitrosamines associated with certain dinitroaniline and some acid herbicides. Use of 14C-labelled samples of pesticides and their by-product has provided much valuable information in laboratory and model ecosystem studies on these two categories of environmental problems. If the user of pesticide is considered a major component of the agricultural ecosystem, then some data do exist on the short-term economic impact of potential loss of certain pesticides undergoing review by the RPAR process.

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Exposure of the user or consumer i s a p o t e n t i a l environment a l problem i f t h e r e i s an a s s o c i a t e d r i s k with a s p e c i f i c p e s t i c i d e use. Since exposure data i s an important component in developing r i s k assessments, there i s considerable research underway t o understand the magnitude and r o u t e s of human exposure to agricultural pesticides.

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Insects, weeds and plant diseases cause major losses in potential agricultural production.

Their control by chemical methods will play an increasingly important part in raising the productivity of agriculture in the developing world to meet the needs of burgeoning populations. Chemical pest control can offer the farmer very high economic returns to investment, but full realization of these benefits requires good agricultural extension and training and local research to adapt available technologies to local needs. Decisions to employ particular pest control strategies must take account of local economic and social factors, the ecology of the pest and its predators and the consequences of chemical use for human safety and the environment.


This conference is concerned, primarily, with one aspect of the complex balance of costs, risks and benefits of

the use of biologically active chemicals in agriculture:

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