Pests and pesticides contribute to the major economic and ecological problems affecting the farmers, crops and their living environment. Two decades of experience in Andhra Pradesh on Non Pesticidal Management shows that pest is a symptom of ecological disturbance rather than a cause and can be affectively managed by using local resources and timely action. The emerging new paradigm of sustainable agriculture shows that the new knowledge synthesized from traditional practices supplemented with modern science can bring in ecological and economic benefits to the farmers. The small success from few villages could be scaled up into more than 1.5 million ha in three years. The costs of cultivations could be brought down significantly without reduction in yield. The institutional base of Community Based Organizations like Federations of Women Self Help Groups provides a good platform for scaling up such ecological farming practices. This experience also shows how the grass root extension system when managed by the community can bring in change and help the farming community to come out of the crisis.

Non-Pesticide Management

The farmers of the region lay emphasis on two fundamental aspects which are very critical in the pest management.

  • Enhancing soil fertility for building stronger and richer soil which can be the first antidote to the pest attack.
  • Enhancing the biodiversity in the farms as the first defence against insect pests

In addition to these key principles in pest management the farmers are following Non-pesticide management options (NPM), most of which are based on farmer’s traditional knowledge systems. The NPM options adopted by the farmers are as follows.

  • Deep summer ploughing
    ⦁ Use of pest tolerant variety
    ⦁ Crop rotation
    ⦁ Trap cropping with Marigold, Castor and Sunflower
    ⦁ Bird perching
    ⦁ Light traps
    ⦁ Spraying of jaggery solution
    ⦁ Broad casting of corned puffs and yellow rice.
    ⦁ Pheromone traps for monitoring the pest
    ⦁ Neem seed kernel extract
    ⦁ Chilli + Garlic extract
    ⦁ Cow dung + Urine extract
    ⦁ Use of NPV virus
    ⦁ Manual collection and destruction of larvae

Shaking of plants in severe cases of pest infestation. The results of the farmers who have adopted these series of ecological options were highly encouraging. Initially the programme started with 10 farmers Several workshops covering aspects like Quality neem seed collection, role of biodiversity in pest management, preparation of botanical pesticides, life cycle of pests, stages of occurrence and growth of insects and role of natural enemies and their identification etc were organized every year before the pest attack. Extension activities like field days, exposure visits, field visits, wall paintings, cultural shows using local folk media and exchange of experience between farmers. All these activities also simultaneously give us a chance to learn from farmers about their experiences of pest management through Non-pesticides approach.

The overall achievement of the programme
  •  NPM is slowly becoming a matter of faith with the communities with whom DDS work instead of just another programme.
    ⦁ Improved the knowledge of farmers regarding pests and natural enemies
    ⦁ Expertise regarding botanical pesticides preparations increased in the farming community.
    ⦁ Women, specially dalits became the leaders in the NPM of pests whom other village community is approaching for KNOW HOW.
    ⦁ Created a large group of master trainers both in the organisation and also in the farming community who can play vital role in horizontal spread of the NPM concept.
    ⦁ Reduced the dependency of the farmers on the external inputs.
    ⦁ Helped in systematizing non-chemical management of pests which the resource poor farmers of area traditionally followed.

Results of the programme

Pesticides issue is no longer just a subject to be studied. The problem is starting at us with the glass of water we drink or the food we eat. Toxic poisons are inextricable part of our lives today. We live in an age when the advocates of modernization and progress are blind to our most important sources of existence and a crucial link to all life on this planet.
Pesticides do not decipher caste, gender or nationality. They will kill anybody irrespective of his or her origins.
As mentioned earlier more than thousand farmers of the region are directly involved in this movement covering an area of around 600 hectares. The consolidation of the results upto the year 2000 reveals that the average production of NPM farmers in pigeon pea crop was 283kg/ha where as Non-NPM(Chemical farmer) farmers was 208 Kg/ha. The average plant protection cost for NPM farmers was Rs150/ha and for chemical farmers it was Rs 980/ha. The average net income of the NPM farmer was 1623/ha and for Chemical farmer Rs 900/ha. In the years of severe pest outbreak, NPM farmers harvested 125-200Kg/ha of yield.

NPM – Mandela

Rural Institute of Centre for Excellence was promoted the NPM model in model in
Villages of Adilabad dist, Indravelli Mandal. 1.Indravelly,2.Yamaikunta, 3.Harkapoor,
4.Chinthakarra 5. Wadagom

One such initiative is the “Non Pesticide Management” of crop pests to reduce
the costs of cultivation by adopting a set of practices based on farmers’ knowledge
supple- mented by modern science which makes best use of local resources and natural
processes by the farmers and women self help group sin Andhra Pradesh. and Telangana

Farmers’ Clubs:

Farmers’ Clubs are grassroot level informal forums of farmers.  Such Clubs are organised by rural branches of banks, NGOs and KVKs with the support and financial assistance of NABARD for the mutual benefit of the village farming community/rural people.
The broad objective of setting up Farmers’ Clubs would be to achieve prosperity for the farmers with overall agricultural development in its area of operation by facilitating credit counseling, technology counseling and market counseling. The main motto of Farmers clubs is Development in rural areas through credit, technology transfer, awareness and capacity building.

Benefits of Farmers’ Clubs:

⦁ Increase in Savings.
⦁ Increase in the credit flow and diversification of lending.
⦁ Generation of new business avenues.
⦁ Increase in the recoveries and decline in the non-performing assets.
⦁ Socio economic development of the village.
⦁ Enhancement in bargaining power for bulk purchase of inputs and marketing of their produce.

NABARD’s support to Farmers’ Club Programme

NABARD’s policy support for Farmers’ Club Programe lays stress on linking technologies with farmers’ club members and also facilitating market access through the following mechanism

⦁ Capacity building of members of Farmers’ Clubs including leadership training.
⦁ Linkage with technology/markets
⦁ Self Help Groups (SHGs)/Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) formation