One Component of Sustainable Pest Control
Bacillus thurengiensis (BT) is a natural bacterium that is widely used as a safe and effective pesticide.
Current approaches used by farmers to control pests in cabbage crops are failing. More pests are emerging, pesticide abuse is rampant, and pesticide residues are often detected on cabbage at the market. In response, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) called a meeting to discuss innovative and sustainable approaches to cabbage pest control. Representatives from environmental, regulatory, research and consumer communities in India attended.
Dr. O.P. Dubey of ICAR presented the background to the issues faced. He reported that the number of pests attacking cabbage in India has increased from 10 to 38 since 1920. This is despite the use of pesticides, pheromone traps, trap crops, pest-resistant varieties, and other pest management strategies. Although the volume of pesticides used in India has declined from 75,000 MT in 1990-91 to 43,600 MT in 2001-01, pesticide abuse is rampant and pesticide residues persist as a major problem (12% of vegetables at the market have unacceptable levels of residues).