Prices for pesticides have doubled up over the last year which has subsequently increased the cost of cultivation for farmers.
Bengaluru: Pesticides sales in Karnataka have gone up by twenty percent in the last two years as per the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. The increased costs of pesticides have subsequently led to an increase in the cost of cultivation for the farmers. Badri, a farmer in Devagere village said, “Crops fail if we don’t add pesticides. I use more pesticide today than I did last year. For good yield we have to use pesticides, but our cost of cultivation has also increased now. With no subsidy on fertilizers, we are bearing a great loss.”
B.R. Kiran, President of the Karnataka State Pesticide Manufacturing Association told that the pesticides sales have gone up by ten percent in the last one year. Under this, a large share is contributed by insecticides. “Totally, if we compare, there is a growth of ten percent in the sale of pesticides. The share for insecticides has gone to 43 percent whereas fungicides and herbicides have reached 27 percent and 23 percent.”
Farmers have to use these pesticides since they don’t seem to find any other option to deal with the rising pests. “Rate of pesticides has increased from 500 to 1000. For one produce, we have to spend 10,000-15,000/-, which includes the cost of pesticides and fertilizers,” added Badri.
Amidst the rising tension regarding cultivation costs, farmers are now distressed over the reduction on fertilizer subsidy by 25 percent in the recent union budget. Badri said, “They always talk about subsidies in budget but nothing really ever happens. No subsidy is given.”
In Karnataka, the most used insecticide is emamectin benzoate as per the latest survey conducted by the Karnataka State Pesticide Manufacturing Association. The survey also revealed that among the three categories of pesticides, which are insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, herbicides are the most widely adopted and used. Kiran further said, “Crops that require pesticides in North Karnataka are chilly, paddy and cotton, whereas in South Karnataka, ginger and other vegetables require more quantity of pesticides.”
Organic farmers, however, argue that pesticides are not necessary for growing crops and it can be grown naturally in our country. Prakasham Chellapally, who follows natural farming in outskirts of Andhra Pradesh said, “There is no use of pesticides in farming. People should adopt natural farming as was before independence. There is no loss in yield. Introducing all these chemicals is just a commercial business.”
Apart from this, there are several pesticides sold in the Indian market that are actually banned in other countries. One such pesticide is Cypermethrin, which, if taken continuously, can cause tremors or neurological disorders. Kiran also told that Cypermethrin is sold in the market in two formulae and is widely used.