Farmers are irrationally using Profex Super, a broad spectrum insecticide (with combination of Cypermethrin and Profenofos), on orange trees from past two years in almost all orange growing areas of Nagpur and Amravati districts.
This pesticide is not recommended for oranges by Central Citrus Research Institude (CCRI), Central Insecticide Board (CIB), or any of the state agriculture universities.
Amol Totey, working President of Orange Growers Association of India (OGAI), who brought the issue to fore, says that a tragedy is waiting to happen in orange like the death of cotton farmers in Yavatmal district due to inhalation of pesticide last year as that almost 90 percent of the farmers are using the pesticide instead suggested its use to control a pest called citrus psylla.
Totey says farmers have managed to escape ill effects of the insecticide so far as the sprayer used is safer, spray is done at a height, and the person doesn’t stand right below the canopy. But, who knows, continuous exposure may lead to severe effects.
CCRI Director MS Ladaniya informed that this pesticide is not recommended on citrus and should never be used. “It is known that repeated use of the same chemical makes it ineffective. The insect may also develop resistance. Otherwise also, any pesticide should be used with all precautions like wearing masks, gloves etc.
Spray should never be done against the direction of the wind. One should also not stand below the canopy to avoid inhalation of the fumes.
Dhanraj Undirwade, Entomology Head of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, too expressed concern over the chemical. He said that the university didn’t recommend it. “It may control citrus psylla initially, but gradually it causes resurgence of other pests like black fly and white fly.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi