It’s often asked that what do organic farmers use instead of chemical pesticides in order to protect their crops. After all, pests are a reality, and no farm, organic or otherwise, can escape the scourge of hungry insects and pests.
The question is also important as an increasing number of consumers have started demanding chemicals free foods. Many governments nowadays encourage their populations to consume more fruits and vegetables. And yet, if those very same ‘healthy’ foods come loaded with harmful, at times, carcinogenic chemicals, how will the new thrust towards healthy diets, convert to better health?
In fact, a study conducted by UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, stressed the need to introduce these bioproducts into the food production methods urgently.
To quote: “Biological products, known as biopesticides, can play a significant role in a more sustainable food chain as chemical pesticides are withdrawn due to resistance problems or because they are no longer commercially viable, according to the research. Chemicals also endanger workers' health and can contaminate groundwater.
All over the world, organic industry leaders are innovating newer and more effective techniques as substitutes with more earth friendly options without losing the crop yield.
Sunil Kalra, CEO, Bloom Organic Bazaar (right) with Anmol Arora, Director, Nature Bio Foods at their processing facility.
Bloom Organic Bazaar’s processing partner, Nature Bio Foods, one of India’s most respected names in the organic space, recently carried out a trial with a new biopesticides formula that returned very encouraging results.
Paddy farmers in India are most worried in the month of September about the oncoming onslaught of pests and insecticides. Nature Bio Foods (NBF) team with the inputs of the farmers recently prepared a quantity of bio manure that included neem, bakayan (Indian lilac), cow urine, cow dung, kari patta, ban tulsi, besan, jaggery, turmeric etc. The team reported: “The first batch of spray (in October) has created excellent results. Vigorous growth was observed in October due to spraying of this organic bio formulation with no infestation in the field.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are four major advantages to using biopesticides in crop production:
- Biopesticides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides.
- Biopesticides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad-spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects, and mammals.
- Biopesticides often are effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly, resulting in lower exposures and largely avoiding the pollution problems caused by conventional pesticides.
- When used as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, biopesticides can greatly reduce the use of conventional pesticides, while crop yields remain high.