Fungal and bacterial pathogens tend to cause severe losses to farm not just economically but also to human and environmental health. It can develop the risks of developing strong pesticide resistance. However, using biopesticides instead of chemical pesticides would be beneficial in long term to control these fungal and bacterial pathogens.
Biopesticides are defoliants derived from natural sources, such as plants, microbes, and minerals that work as effective tools to control fungal and bacterial pathogens in agriculture. The Indian market has been showing a decent increase in demand for bio-inoculants and biopesticides with the increasing surge in organic farming within the country.
According to a report, the Indian market size for biopesticides is ought to grow to USD 130.37 million by 2029. State and Central governments as well as non-profit organizations are constantly putting forward the agenda of sustainable agriculture with the introduction of schemes and subsidies that makes biopesticides and biofertilizers accessible and affordable for farmers.
Here are some benefits of using biopesticides for controlling fungal and bacterial pathogens in agriculture:
Reduced Environmental Impact – Unlike synthetic pesticides, which can persist in the environment and have negative effects on non-target organisms, biopesticides break down quickly and are generally less harmful to the environment.
Safe for human and animal health – Biopesticides are generally less toxic to humans and animals than synthetic pesticides, as they are derived from natural sources.
Reduced resistance development – Overuse of synthetic pesticides can lead to the development of pesticide-resistant pathogens, which can reduce the effectiveness of the pesticides. Biopesticides can help reduce the development of resistance, as they have different modes of action and are less likely to select for resistant strains.
Effective control of target pests – Biopesticides can be just as effective as synthetic pesticides in controlling target pests, such as fungal and bacterial pathogens.
Compatible with other pest management strategies – Biopesticides can be used in conjunction with other pest management strategies, such as cultural practices and biological control, to provide effective and sustainable pest management solutions.
Cost-effective – Biopesticides can be cost-effective, as they can often be produced locally using readily available materials, and may require fewer applications than synthetic pesticides.
The Indian government, as mentioned above, has been promoting the use of biopesticides in Indian agriculture as a part of its efforts to promote sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture practices. The government has taken several steps to encourage farmers to adopt biopesticides and to support the production and distribution of biopesticides in the country.
Here are some of how the Indian government is incorporating biopesticides in Indian agriculture:
Promoting Research and Development – The Indian government has been funding research and development in the field of biopesticides, intending to develop effective and affordable biopesticides that can be used by farmers.
Providing Financial Assistance – The government provides financial assistance to farmers to encourage them to adopt biopesticides. This includes subsidies for the purchase of biopesticides and for the development of biopesticide production units.
Creating Awareness and Training Programs – The government has been conducting awareness and training programs for farmers to promote the use of biopesticides and to educate them on the proper use and application of biopesticides.
Supporting the Production and Distribution of biopesticides: The government has established biopesticide production units and distribution centres to make biopesticides more readily available to farmers. It has launched several schemes and initiatives, such as Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
It assists with Rs. 50,000 per hectare for 3 years, out of which Rs. 31,000 (62%) is given to the farmers directly through DBT, for inputs (bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, vermicompost, botanical extracts, etc.) production/ procurement, post-harvest management etc. Moreover, governments have been looking forward and are collaborating with private companies to promote the production and distribution of biopesticides.
Promoting organic farming – The government has been promoting organic farming practices, which rely heavily on the use of biopesticides and other eco-friendly pest management techniques.
Note that the effectiveness of biopesticides can vary depending on the specific pathogen being targeted and the conditions in which they are used. It’s important to carefully follow the instructions for any biopesticide product and to integrate them into an overall pest management strategy that includes good cultural practices, such as crop rotation and sanitation.