Pest Management: pesticides Should Be Used As A Last Resort

PHOTO: AFP FAISALABAD: Excessive use of pesticides is not only increasing the resistance of insects but is also affecting human health, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan said on Saturday. He was speaking at an international conference on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of Fruits and Vegetables organised by the Department of entomology at UAF. Khan said the country imported 12,000 metric tons of active ingredients of pesticides every year. He said integrated pest management needed to be adopted to lower the impact of pesticides. He said IPM was an approach that considered the entire agro-ecosystem. He said Pakistan was cultivating fruits and vegetables on 4 per cent of its land. Fruits production stands at 0.70 million tones and vegetables share at 0.72 million tones, he said. The VC said Pakistans share in global fruits and vegetables market stood at $625 million. The production can be increased by adopting IPM, he said. Dr Oscar E Liburd from the University of Florida, the guest of honour, said it was the need of the hour to adopt and promote IPM techniques. Pesticides can be used as the last resort, he said. Liburd said over reliance on pesticides could lead to negative consequences including issues related to safety of workers, contamination of ground water, and negative effect on beneficial arthropods including honey bees and others. He said he was of the view that the world population would reach 9 billion by 2050. Keeping this in view, it is necessary to ensure food security and safety to feed the growing population. Plant Breeding and Genetics Chairman Dr Abdus Salam Khan called for stepping up efforts to ensure food security. He said residues from misuse of pesticides were a major concern in many countries including Pakistan. 28.5 per cent of fruits and 37 per cent of vegetables exceeded the maximum residual limits (MRL) in 2010, he said. Department of Entomology Chairman Dr Jalal Arif said it was a matter of grave concern that Pakistans annual losses in fruits and vegetables stood at 200 million because of the attack of fruit flies. Almost one-third of the total harvest is destroyed by potential pest, he said. Salam Khan said the use of pesticide in Pakistan had increased manifold in the last 20 years. The trend must be curtailed and replaced with IPM, he said. Prof Jaffar Jaskani said the country stood fifth in mango and guava production, sixth in apricot and seventh in dates. He stressed the need to ensure latest approaches covering production, post-harvest management, processing and marketing were adopted. Prof Dr Dildar Gogi said at least 11 species of fruit flies had been documented in Pakistan. Dr Ahmad Nawaz stressed the need to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables to cut the potential of increased exposure to a single pesticide. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://tribune.com.pk/story/639398/pest-management-pesticides-should-be-used-as-a-last-resort/

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