Monday, December 1, 2008

Bio-pesticide: student find

here is something i can vouch for. though normally i use tobacco with garlic. this time i am going to try this combination and check the results.

Onions, garlic and chillies don’t just spice up your favourite dish, they can also keep pests at bay. And now five school students in Uttar Pradesh have used them to prepare an eco-friendly pesticide.

The biopesticide has been prepared by students of GRM Senior Secondary School in Bareilly. It is one of the few projects from the state to be selected for the National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) to be held at Dimapur, Nagaland, from December 27 to 31.
“Just by analysing some of the basic biology principles under the guidance of our biotech teacher, we managed to develop the pesticide,” group leader Saheli Gupta, a Class XI student, said over telephone. Gupta and four of her schoolmates have come up with the innovative pesticide that unlike chemical pesticides does not degrade soil fertility.
According to members of the group, the World Health Organisation and the UN Environment Programme estimate that each year, three million agricultural workers in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticide. “As our pest control formulation is totally free of chemicals, there is no question of ill-effects on the soil or an adverse impact on health while using it on crops,” reasoned Reena Varshney, the biotechnology teacher who helped the students.
“Organic compounds like allicin found in garlic, capsaicinoids derived from green chillies and sulphur compounds extracted from onion give the pesticide the strength to fight pests,” said Varshney. Besides being eco-friendly, its low manufacturing cost also gives the biopesticide an edge over its chemical counterparts.
“For a hectare of crops, farmers require nearly one kilogram of chemical pesticides costing around Rs 350 in the market. However, for the same area, the pesticide developed by us will cost just Rs 20,” said Varshney. “Around 100 grams of onion mixed with an equal quantity of garlic with a handful of green chillies in a definite quantity of water and then a simple filtration process - it is that simple,” said Imran Hashmi, another member in the group.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Organic cotton takes root in Kutch

Organised cultivation of organic cotton is now taking root in some pockets of the country.
In Rapar taluk of Gujarat’s Kutch district, around 1,000 cotton growers have been granted ‘organic’ certification by Agrocel, an agricultural services provider controlled by the Shroff family of Excel Industries Ltd. The growers signing up with Agrocel have had to follow a five-step process of changeover from conventional pesticide-based farming to organic cultivation of cotton.

“These involve methods such as planting trap crops such as maize (which can attract bollworms and other insect pests away from cotton into areas where they can be controlled before they infest cotton) and attracting beneficial insects such as grasshoppers and bees. Also, they have to reduce usage of fertilisers and pesticides, which are measured through pesticide pollution units

courtesy The Hindu Business line

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Papaya Mosaic virus, a desi solution

A group of farmers engaged in Papaya cultivation in Moradabad region have found a desi way of tackling the Papaya Mosaic disease. They spray a dilute solution of groundnut Oil on the crop as soon as the symptoms of the disease appear. The disease doesn't surface after that, they say. The efficacy of the 'treatment technique' has even impressed the state agriculture department, which is promoting it as a "natural cure" for the dreaded disease. Caused by Papaya Mosaic Potexvirus (PapMV), the disease has been a major deterrent in the cultivation of the crop across India. While the farmers say that they took a cue from ancient Ayurvedic books to find a way to beat the disease, scientists, too, say that groundnut oil has the potential to help fight viruses that cause the mosaic disease.

"The fatty acids in groundnut oil not only kill PapMV virus but also curb aphids that transmit the disease, thereby checking further spread of disease," said Dr Shiv Singh, an agriculture scientist, based in Moradabad. "In fact, these fatty acids can also aid in the growth of the Papaya plant," added Dr Singh. Elaborating on the nature of the disease, Dr Singh said though mosaic virus is known to attack the papaya plants of all age groups, it affects younger plants more gravely. Leaf distortion, malformation of fruits, reduction in fruit size and blisters on the surface of fruit are a common occurrence "Symptoms appear on the young leaves of the plants. The leaves are reduced in size and show blister like patches of dark-green tissue, alternating with yellowish-green lamina. The leaf petiole is reduced in length and the top leaves assume an upright position. "The infected plants show a marked reduction in growth. The fruits borne on disease plants develop water soaked lesions with a central solid spot. Such fruits are elongated, reduced in size and not fit for consumption," he said. Explaining the procedure being adopted by farmers to cure the crop, Dr Singh said that the solution is prepared by mixing one litre of groundnut oil in around 100 litres of water. "The solution not only prevents the virus from spreading but also ensures better growth of the plant and also the fruit," Dr Singh claimed. In Uttar Pradesh, districts like Ghaziabad, Rampur, Moradabad, Bulandshaher and Saharanpur are major producers of this short-lived herbaceous plant called Carica papaya.

courtesy: pic - british society for plant pathology : article - indian express