Reduce use of harmful chemicals in agriculture

Shishir Reza and Sharmin Akter

4 November, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh is on the way to achieve the middle-income country status by the year of 2024 where agriculture would play a vital role. Food demand is mounting high with the escalating of population. To meet the growing up food demand, haphazard uses of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are increasing alarmingly.

Modern farming practices and development works have imposed tremendous pressure on environmental security and sustainability. Farmers are involved in commercial cultivation and contract farming with national and international companies. International agencies counsel local farmers to use hybrid seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and machines. In general the modern agriculture has brought many benefits for farmers. But the existing crises – higher amount of methane gas production, killing both beneficial and harmful pest, less pollination, arsenic pollution, skin diseases of farmers, soil erosion and environmental degradation – emerge as well.

Farmers employ detrimental chemicals in cropsland, in most cases,  without considering the protection beneficial pests and proper pollination. Potash, sulphate, calcium carbonate, triples super phosphate are normally used in the field. For growing potato and egg-plant they apply carbendajin, wantap-50, wansilva 10, quinfis-25%, denitol, festaq 2.5, melathion, corden, methoxicore, bydrin, dibrone, diajinon 10, lebasid and dimecron. Fenom, theovit, nexin, sevin, diplerox, monotuf 40, thiojen are used for growing sponge gourd, ribbed gourd, teasle gourd, sweet gourd, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower and Hyacinth bean. In the same way, for Aush, Amon and Boro farmers use polivit-500, kiridan-5, crijol-5, basudin-10, topsin mithyle, ripcord, dursburn 20 and sebin-60.

Many of these chemicals kill harmful pest including damri poka, bolta, mazra poka, leda poka, gandhi poka, bag, kalo poka, aphids, small caterpillar, leafhoppers, cabbage maggots and whileflies which are very essential for pollination.

But, there is an alternative to encouraging and financing green manures for eco-friendly agriculture. The finance scheme of Bangladesh Bank was 1.1 billion taka in FY-15 and 1.6 billion taka in FY-16. The use of organic fertilizers including green wastes, coconut cake, oil cakes, sludge, coal ash, wood ash, paddy husk, castor cake, mustard cake, groundnut cake, linseed cake, neem cake, fish meal, water hyacinths, cow dung, vegetable materials, stool of livestock’s, weeds of big tree, farmyard manures can help in developing eco-friendly agriculture. Farmers may use indigenous pesticides from neem pata, tamak pata, guegenta pata, nishinda pata, dhuturar pata and bish katali pata to protect beneficial pests and ensure pollination security.

Financing on green manures should be considered as environment-friendly endeavours and management of environmental and social risks of the enterprises in  promoting green growth of agriculture. The concerned authorities, including state owned banks, private commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions should take steps to finance more on organic manures at the grass-root levels.

The writers are Environmental Analyst, Bangladesh Economic Association and Urban Planner, Bangladesh Institute of Planners