Author: Dr. Akhtar A. Siddiqui
Pakistan is recognized as an agricultural country in the world. About 60 percent of the Pakistan’s population is associated with agricultural occupation.
Being the principal sector in the development, agriculture contributes 21 percent to GDP,
employs 45 percent of country’s labor force and contributes substantially to export earnings.
However being agricultural country, the crop production in Pakistan is still low as compared to other countries.
The low yields result from unfavorable weather, pests attack and limited awareness of pesticides and pest management options for improved cropping.
Farmers’use a variety of pesticides to eliminate insects and weeds from their fields,
but these pesticides can harm humans and environment.
Excessive or mistimed use of pesticides can also disrupt the growth of beneficial insects and provide opportunity for harmful pests to attack.
Other than that, Pesticides use also increases production costs to growers.
In Pakistan, the use of pesticide was started in 1950s for controlling locust.
But the indiscriminate use of pesticides has caused serious health hazards to human health and environment.
The increased use of the pesticides has been a reality through the pesticides consumption campaigns of the private sector by getting benefit from the liberal policies regarding the pesticides use.
The print and electronic media indirectly has played a very important role in intensifying campaign that the use of pesticides is essential.
In this relation, the private organizations have provided credits as incentive for buying more pesticides.
Unnecessary use of insecticides creates pest resistance, decreases the growth of natural pest enemies, deteriorates environmental condition and also creates serious health hazards among the labor.
There are many methods in the world for growth in agricultural productivity and improvement in the farmers’ livelihood, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is one of them.
During the last two decades, people have become more aware of and concerned regarding use of chemicals and their effects on the environment and human health.
Especially, progressive farmers are cautious about the use of the pesticides.
Pesticides are toxic by meaning and the impact of their use on drinking water, air, food production, structures and landscapes has become a significant social concern.
All the pesticides causing poisoning problems are due to the farmers’ poor knowledge of handling and its usage.
Due to the lack of knowledge regarding proper use of pesticides,
farmers usually apply chemical pesticides as preventive measures, without assessing economic damage level of insect pests to their crop.
Pesticides use is increasing with negative effects not only on the environment and farmers’ health, but also affects the consumers’ health.
Government of Pakistan has understood that the optimum utilization of production technology and inputs, it is must to avoid unnecessary spray of pesticides.
To address these challenges, Government has taken efforts to minimize dependence on pesticides through the dissemination of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology.
Experts and researchers are already agreed that IPM technology strengthens farmers’ insect pest knowledge and develops understanding the crop ecosystem,
which leads towards the reduction in the pesticides use and at the same time increases production and profit.In developing country like Pakistan, disseminating knowledge and information to farmers effectively and timely is a big challenge.
To face the challenge,in the first instance Government of Pakistan launched various projects to train the field officers of public sector in connection to IPM technology.
Secondly, Farmer Field Schools (FFS) were established to educate the farmers regarding pest management methods.
Resultantly, provincial Governments had embraced IPM as the dominant interface between facilitators of agriculture departments and farmers.
It is assumed that through this new training method, facilitators may change farmers’ traditional role from passive learner to active.
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