Global plan against global pest needed: ICAR director-general

Global plan against global pest needed: ICAR director-general Hyderabad, Nov 10 (PTI):Director-general of IndianCouncil of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Trilochan MohapatraonSundaycalled for a global plan for global pests like fallarmyworm even as he said climate change makes the challenge ofcrop protection formidable.

Speaking at the inaugural of the 19th internationalplant protection congress (IPPC) here, he said a segmentedapproach to tackling global pests would not work and stressedthe need for a global plan.

'Integrated pest management approach has helped usincrease yields thus far. We also need to further explorebiological control mechanisms, enhance surveillance andmonitoring, and exhaustively screen our crop germplasm forhost resistance, a press release from the city-basedInternational Crops Research Institute for the Semi-AridTropics (ICRISAT) quoted Mohapatra as saying.

The congress was convened by the InternationalAssociation for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) everyfour years and this year was being organised by ICRISAT andCrop Protection Societies in India.

The theme of IPPC-2019 was Crop Protection toOutsmart Climate Change for Food Security & EnvironmentalConservation.

Globally, insect pests, diseases and weedsresult in 3540 per cent loss in crop yields, valued at overUSD 250 billion, despite application of pesticides costingnearly USD 35 billion annually, the release said adding ingeneral, pest associated losses vary from 13.8 per cent to35.8 per cent, which at times reach 100 per cent duringoutbreaks. Invasive weeds, insects, pests, diseases andnematodes are likely to become more serious under globalwarming and climate change, the release said.

Speaking about the Indian approach to tacklingpests, including recent invasions by fall armyworm, Mohapatrastressed on biocontrol measures, saying there is a need tobalance pesticide use with natural methods of plantprotection.

He said the fall armyworm had gone from onestate to 18 states since it entered the country, prompting theCentral government to launch a comprehensive approach totackling it.

This has led to identification of naturalenemies to the pest in some areas where pesticides were notused, he said.

Mohapatra further said the Centre is in thefinal stages of formulating guidelines for nano-pesticides andnano-fertilisers.

He called for increased research toidentify resistance traits in crops while stating that formany pests and diseases, sources of host plant resistance, inboth cultivated and wild relatives of crops, have not beenexhausted.

Pests continue to evolve and diseases thatwere not seen before are being reported under changing climateconditions. We need to continuously deploy efforts to protectcrops for food security, he said.

ICRISAT director-general Peter Carberrywas among those who spoke. PTI VVKNVG NVG