PAKISTAN IS an agricultural country. Some of the major crops grown here include cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize, banana and sunflower, but how do we protect and safeguard them from harmful pests and diseases?

Being a plant protectionist, I would suggest that we should apply and use all safeguard measures, which have been recommended by experts. Chemicals control is visibly giving fast results. That is why farmers and landlords use mostly chemicals compared to other controls. However, unnecessary use of pesticides is proving to be extremely harmful for the health of humans and other living organisms. According to the integrated pest management (IPM), if a crop has reached economic injury level, then control measures should be applied. Growers are still not taking bio-control activities seriously.

There are various side effects of pesticides as they can be harmful to people, animals and the environment because they are designed to kill or harm living organisms. Though the government regulates pesticide use, residues are still found in our food supply.

We should try to use biological control as many Asian countries have benefited from biotechnology in recent years. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

It is time the unnecessary use of pesticides is avoided because poison is poison. Besides, health is wealth, so we should know better what not to use at all.

Sheeraz Nizamani @Karachi

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