Horticultural Crop Growers who are dependant on chemical spray for protecting their crops can now have some relief Indian Institute of Horticulture Research, Hessarghatta has developed varieties of bio-pesticides. The sources of these biopesticides are natural resources such as animals, plants, bacteria and certain minerals. IIHR in the last few years has granted more than 465 industrial licences for production of bio-pesticides.
Dr. M.S. Rao, Principal Scientist, IIHR said that as indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides pose serious threat to environment and human health, bio-pesticides have overwhelming advantages of high selectivity to target pests and also safe for human consumption. “The use of chemicals has increased manifold as farmers are desperate to control nematode, a variety of harmful microbes in the soil, which attack the plant root and causes losses up to 70% in terms of yield,” he added.The bio-pesticides developed by IIHR have helped not only increase plant growth and yields but also enhance the shelf-life of crops, he said.
The institute has been trying to promote the use of bio-pesticides amongst farmers mostly in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and some of the northeastern states. Scientists claim that the farmers who have used IIHR-developed bio-pesticides have reported reduction in the use of agro-chemicals in the range of 35% to 40% and yield increase of 24% to 32% in various horticultural crops.
Dr. M.R. Dinesh, Director, IIHR, said that besides the development of bio-pesticides, the institute has released several vegetables hybrids commercially such as tomato hybrid Arka Ananya, which has resistant to leaf curl virus and bacterial wilt, chilli hybrids Arka Meghana which is tolerant to thrips and viruses, and high yielding chilli hybrid Arka Swetha.“Besides, several other varieties such as bacterial wilt tolerant brinjal hybrid Arka Anand, high yielding onion hybrids Arka Lalima and Arka Kirthima are a few products which have made significant impact in production and higher economic gains,” he added.