For the IUPAC Next generation Agri-summit 2019 on sustainable crop protection, I propose the idea of a Sustainable Crop Specific Crop Protection toolkit. With this toolkit, I intend to target farmers according to the nature of crops they are growing. This sustainable crop protection toolkit will include all the necessary interventions that farmers need. It will be a
basic set of guidelines written in their native language that will facilitate their decision making.
When I was first admitted to my Bachelors Program in agriculture at the Agriculture and Forestry University, I started organic farming along with my three friends with the sole motive of producing organic products and encouraging farmers into it. In the first season we successfully cultivated cauliflower but during the next season something happened that none of us could foresee. Our entire batch of Vine long yard bean was lost first to rust. But still our days of turmoil weren’t over. The surviving plants were infested heavily by chick pea pod borer during the production phase rendering all our beans unmarketable. We had to dispose of them. Up to then we hadn’t much knowledge on integrated pest management or any other crop protection measures. The failure of long vine yard beans really demotivated us.
Learning from this situation, prior to cultivating our batch of pea in the next season, we started taking very minute details into consideration and followed a certain pre-structured framework that we worked out to ensure maximum crop security. Before planting we focused on the soil and its management aspects (includes soil testing, maintaining soil pH, organically enriching soils with vermi-compost and cattle manure, soil solarization, trycoderma inoculation, mulching etc.), seed treatment aspect (FIR technique: Bio fungicide, bio insecticide and rhizobium inoculation), plant protection measures( intercropping, staking, parasitoid, Bio-pesticides etc.) and post harvest management. After around 5 months we finally cracked the cultivation of pea. From an investment of just 20$ (NRs. 2000) we made a net profit of 230$(NRs. 23000), on from 150m2 of land.
The initial failure and consecutive success inspired me with this proposed idea. This personal experience made me passionate about this idea and made me clear about farmers reluctant to be involved in sustainable farming.
Before the preparation of this kit, a basic ground study will be done regarding the diversity of problems whether related to pest, disease, cultivation or post harvest practices. The ground work will involve the survey, focus group discussions and key informant survey to name a few. The information gathering will be done both form primary as well as secondary source and the output will be computed. Based on this idea, certain basic framework and flowchart for the entire crop cycle will be created. All the problems will be tackled with the help of respective expertise and sustainable solutions will be worked out. The worked out solutions will determine the constituent of this toolkit. For basics, it will include small portable soil testing equipment, beneficial soil microbe’s inoculants, bio-fungicides, bio-insecticides to name a few along with working guidelines written in the native language. Guidelines for cultural and managerial intervention and proper agro-ecological, microclimate and season specific crop calendar will also be included.This tool kitwill be disseminated through farmer’s cooperatives and actively working extension workers.
The economic benefit of the toolkit will be realized once the farmer gets returns from the crop.
All the farmers involved in this initiative will be connected through social media groups facilitating regular discussion on improvement and soliciting feedback.
Being an agrarian country, many people here are small holder farmers and depend solely on their traditional method of cultivation for their living. Many of them have started using alternative methods of pest control with excessive use of chemicals. My intervention will assist small holder farmers in sustainable crop production ensuring food, nutritional, health and environmental security along the way.
Gaurav Adhikari, Nepal