It may not be too long before desertification of agricultural lands starts in Adilabad and neighbouring districts as injudicious use of chemicals continues unchecked. The latest trend is to go in for pre-emergence spraying of weedicide in order to control the growth.
The incidence of chemical use is higher in these parts owing to the extensive cultivation of cotton. It would have been higher still had it not been for the Bt cotton which requires lesser quantum of pesticide.
“The tremendous shortage of workers has left us with no choice but to go in for pre and post emergence sprays of weedicide,” lamented farmer Gurnule Shivaji of Gudihatnoor in Adilabad district.
“We know the land is being poisoned but new pest attacks are forcing us to use pesticides more than it appears to be required,” he added with an air of resignation.
In erstwhile Adilabad district, comprising Adilabad, Kumram Bheem Asifabad, Mancherial and Nirmal district, the quantum of pesticide used in about 6 lakh hectare of cultivated area in 2014-15 and in 2015-16 was over 13 lakh litres and 13.43 lakh litres respectively.
The use of pesticides in 2016-17 was up by about 10,000 litres and is expected to go up sharply this season as more area is expected to come under cotton.
The corresponding years saw a decline in use of fertilizer from 1.78 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 to 1.22 lakh tonnes in 2016-17. The trend however, may be broken this kharif, according to experts.
“Farmers should actually go in look for compatibility of insecticides and fungicides and use those together instead of using them separately,” opined Agriculture Scientist and coordinator of Adilabad District Agriculture Advisory and Transfer of Technology Centre K. Rajasekhar. “This will reduce cost too,” he added.
The effort of the Central government in giving soil health cards to farmers to determine not only the type of crop to cultivate but also the type and quantum of chemicals needed to be used appears to have failed. Though 80,000 such cards were issued to farmers not many have heeded to the advise contained in them or approached the Agriculture Department for expert opinion.