Saturday, July 12, 2008

Signposts of a New Era in Pesticide Safety

It is said that people tend towards falsehoods because the truth is denied to them. Showing people the correct path is often most efficacious for amelioration. Consider the following ten steps. They can collectively meet the concerns of all shareholders.

1. Planning and budgeting at the village and individual farm levels. This is to prevent field-to-field migration of pests, and to keep pest management costs within affordable levels.

2. Scouting to stop calendar-based sprays. Pesticide application only when required.

3. Rearing beneficial insects to cut back on chemical pesticides as far as possible.

4. Resistance monitoring to choose the most appropriate molecule for a brood or a colony.

5. Village community announcements for precautions to avoid exposure during coordinated spraying programs; also to prevent spraying during strong breeze conditions.

6. Pesticide sprays using remote controlled devices to avoid acute toxicity.

7. ph and microbe-based methods to degrade contaminated soil and water.

8. Surveillance to prevent farm produce leaving the village with pesticide residues above permissible limits. Also, annual medical camps to detect pathologies in time.

9. Review and feedback sessions to learn from seasonal experiences, and to plan for the next crop.

10. Extension work to spread relevant technologies for safe and judicious use of pesticides.

All 10 steps are suitable for supervision by village women. The skills required are convenient to develop, and the Internet is an economical medium of real-time communication.

Please comment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unlimited Pesticide Safety

The solution stares in our faces. It is inspired from the world of medicine. Some of the most agriculturally-advanced countries have a variation. However, the Indian version will be unique.

The safe and judicious use of pesticides is a task for the skilled. They call them scouts in the United States. They decide what to spray and when. The system addresses needs of farmers with thousand of acres to manage. We can do the same for small farmers who lack resources for safe and judicious use of pesticides. We can also add new parts to traditional roles for scouts. These additions can address environment safety and human safety concerns.

Where can we find such a cadre? Why not in villages and around farms? We need a caring demographic group. One that is available universally. People on who you can rely in even the most difficult of circumstances. Individuals who put others before their selves. Diligence is their watchword. Their commitments are always above

Rural women constitute the most potent force in the world. Centuries of adversity have forged their collective DNA. Their forbearance and fortitude are without parallel. All issues related to the safe and judicious use of pesticides fall within their generous and joint ambit.

Let us take this concept to the next level tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A New Dawn of Pesticide Safety

The second half of 2008 marks a fork in the evolution of humanity. Contradictions between conservation and productivity claims on resources have never been quiescent. Moves in favor of and against pesticides are equally subservient to the common ground of time-bound, sustainable development. Inflation, recession, and inclement weather dominate world concerns today, differing stakeholder perspectives notwithstanding. How can pesticides contribute to harmonious resolution?

Who can object to the safe and judicious use of pesticides? It is a platform that the industry, growers, sellers, scientists, and activists can share without hesitation. Preventive medicine does not prohibit the use of therapies. Similarly, organic enthusiasts may endorse the safe and judicious use of pesticides just as enthusiastically as a diligent manufacturer.

Who will bell the cat? Criticism and commentary from an armchair is easy. Achieving better safety standards in IPM, IRM, ICM, and IAP, are other cups of tea. We need a new and dedicated cadre. A community dedicated to health and wellness. People who agents of change for the better. Individuals who live amidst the folk they serve.

Where can we find such people? Who are they?

Come back tomorrow for an answer.

I apologize for not posting during the past week. I have been away from my broadband base, with teething troubles in switching to wireless Internet. My pesticide safety duties will keep me away from home at regular intervals in future. I will try and post as often as I can. Thank you for your understanding.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Endosulfan as a Scapegoat

A shipping company in the Philippines, with a poor safety record, has an accident with a pesticide on board. There is no word on whether the manufacturer violated any packaging specifications, or indeed if the containers in question gave way on sinking.

The pesticide should be located and disposed off safely. This may no longer be possible if the holds of the vessel have disintegrated, but we owe it to the Ocean to try.

It is bad enough that emergency protocols have been disregarded, but now a review of Endosulfan by the country concerned, pours salt on pesticide industry wounds. Regulation is a national prerogative, but will the Philippines ban oil if a tanker runs aground?

Thank you for posting your opinion on this controversy. You can also email

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Perhaps you do not live in the Philippines.

You may not care for Endosulfan.

Perhaps your brand was not involved.

But you are, no matter where you live, or which sophisticated product you sell.

Please visit all reports related to this link:

Thank you for posting below or sending an email to

What have you done to prevent such an incident?

Do you also deserve a medal for your timely action to help the Philippine authorities?