Agrochemicals play a key role in increasing agricultural productivity by protecting crops from insects, pests, fungi, weed, rodents etc. Owing to their benefits, they have been used indiscriminately rising concerns over their usage. Nevertheless, they are indispensable in agriculture to maintain productivity as the population is exponentially increasing and so is the demand for food. Hence there is a need to employ a policy for the management of the agrochemicals to encourage their judicious use.
Benefits Of Pesticide Use:
Plant insects and pest incur a major loss to farmers worldwide every year. It has been estimated that insects destroy 15% of crops, disease pathogens and weeds around 13% each and pests during postharvest period damage 10% of crops. Agrochemicals help minimize this loss by protecting crops, increasing productivity and maintaining the quality of the produce. This also saves other costs such as labour and fuel which in turn lowers the prices of agricultural commodities.
Apart from their use in agriculture, agrochemicals are also used to prevent negative impacts caused to society in many ways. For example, trees and weeds growing under power lines, when left unchecked, would result in power outages. Herbicides are used to eliminate this growth. Also, herbicides are widely used to control unwanted vegetation along national highways, roadsides, in parks, wetlands and public areas to ensure public safety and convenience.
In food processing, insecticides are used in permissible levels to protect raw commodities and packaged groceries from insects infesting them during processing, manufacturing and packaging stages. Insecticides and rodenticides are widely used in places where food is stored. Insecticides, herbicides and pesticides are also used in the home for controlling insects, herbs and pests.
Risks Associated With Agrochemical Use:
There is as much risk associated with the use of agrochemicals as the benefits. First and foremost is the harm they cause to humans and the environment. Use of pesticides in agriculture is inevitable as discussed previously. However, their non-judicious use is posing a great risk to human health as well as the environment. The pesticide molecules are inherently toxic. And most of them are broad-spectrum in nature resulting in the emergence of resistant species. Hence it is essential to develop molecules with selective toxicity. Instead, their biological counterparts need to be discovered and applied to alleviate the toxic effects. Farmers need to be educated on the need-based application of agrochemicals to promote discriminate use of these chemicals.
Strategies For Agrochemical Management:
Various strategies are suggested to effectively manage agrochemical use. Some of them are:
- Ensuring environmental and ecological compliance
- Identifying non-target species for each region and protecting them
- Mandating the monitoring of toxic remains in plant parts, animal-based food and environment
- Defining Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for each crop with respect to the agrochemical usage
- Establishing Maximum Residual Limit (MRL) for each agrochemical
- Detoxification and degradation of chemical residues in the environment
- Emphasizing and educating about the occupational and consumer risks associated with the chemicals
Online Course on Agribusiness at James Lind Institute
To learn more about agrochemicals, enroll yourself in an online training program on agribusiness being launched at James Lind Institute. This module acquaints you with various aspects of agriculture and allied sectors. James Lind Institute is a pioneer in the field of online training courses in various fields such as clinical development, public health and tropical medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, medical communication and journalism and social and environmental sciences. The globally accredited and industry-specific training fine tune your skills to match the needs of the ever-growing market. James Lind Institute will soon be launching online training programs on agribusiness. For more details, please visit www.jliedu.com