Global plan against global pest needed: ICAR director-general
Director-general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Trilochan Mohapatraon Sunday called for a global plan for global pests like fall armyworm even as he said climate change makes the challenge of crop protection formidable. Speaking at the inaugural of the 19th international plant protection congress (IPPC) here, he said a segmented approach to tackling global pests would not work and stressed the need for a global plan.
"Integrated pest management approach has helped us increase yields thus far. We also need to further explore biological control mechanisms, enhance surveillance and monitoring, and exhaustively screen our crop germplasm for host resistance, a press release from the city-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) quoted Mohapatra as saying. The congress was convened by the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) every four years and this year was being organized by ICRISAT and Crop Protection Societies in India.
The theme of IPPC-2019 was Crop Protection to Outsmart Climate Change for Food Security & Environmental Conservation. Globally, insect pests, diseases, and weeds result in 3540 percent loss in crop yields, valued at over USD 250 billion, despite application of pesticides costing nearly USD 35 billion annually, the release said adding in general, pest associated losses vary from 13.8 per cent to 35.8 per cent, which at times reach 100 per cent during outbreaks. Invasive weeds, insects, pests, diseases, and nematodes are likely to become more serious under global warming and climate change, the release said.
Speaking about the Indian approach to tackling pests, including recent invasions by fall armyworm, Mohapatra stressed on biocontrol measures, saying there is a need to balance pesticide use with natural methods of plant protection. He said the fall armyworm had gone from one state to 18 states since it entered the country, prompting the central government to launch a comprehensive approach to tackling it.
This has led to identification of natural enemies to the pest in some areas where pesticides were not used, he said. Mohapatra further said the Centre is in the final stages of formulating guidelines for nano-pesticides and nano-fertilisers.
He called for increased research to identify resistance traits in crops while stating that for many pests and diseases, sources of host plant resistance, in both cultivated and wild relatives of crops, have not been exhausted. Pests continue to evolve and diseases that were not seen before are being reported under changing climate conditions. We need to continuously deploy efforts to protect crops for food security, he said.
ICRISAT director-general Peter Carberry was among those who spoke..
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