PAKISTAN IS an agricultural country where different crops are cultivated according to the season and the region. 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 safeguarding measures which have been recommended by experts. Chemicals control shows quick results and that is why farmers and landlords prefer these to other controls. However, unnecessary use of pesticides is proving to be extremely harmful for the health of the people 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 actions seriously. The extract from Neem is showing good results, and we can save useful insects and repel harmful insects by the use of plant extract pesticides.

Pesticide residue on the food can have bad effect on our health. Though the government regulates pesticide use, residues are still found in our food supply. High quantity of pesticides is found on peaches, berries, apples, peppers, green vegetables, grapes and potatoes. Eating these commercially grown foods frequently might increase exposure to diseases.

We should try to use biological control, as many Asian countries have benefited from biotechnology in recent years. The IPMs program is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.

The IPM programme is current and it gives comprehensive information on the lifecycle of pests and their interaction with environment. It can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as home, garden and workplace. It takes advantage of all appropriate pest-management options, including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, 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.

Sheeraz Nizamani @Karachi

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