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Concern over excessive DDT use in Jiribam fields

The Imphal Free Press

JIRIBAM, May 5: DDT, which is one of the most dangerous insecticides, is being used on their crops by the farmers of Jiribam sub-division for protection from insects ignoring the adverse effects of the chemical organic compound.

Concerned by the use of the compound, agricultural scientists and experts of the Manipur agriculture department and Central Agricultural University, CAU, Manipur have cautioned the farmers on the side effects of consuming the food crops on which DDT has been applied.

The use of DDT in the fields came to be known to the experts and scientists of the agriculture department and CAU who were at Jiribam introducing the Integrated Pest Management, IPM method of farming to the sub-division of Imphal east district.

The inauguration function of the campaign was held on Sunday attended by Manipur agriculture minister, N Loken and the director of the department, RK Noyansana.

While giving the keynote address of the campaign, AO (Chemistry) department of agriculture, Ph Rajendro spoke on the prospects of the IPM and the need for introducing IPM method of agriculture, after observation of the increasing acidity of the soil in the fields of the area. The experts team also conducted on the spot soil testing of the fields there.

He also proposed setting up of a model agriculture village in the area in collaboration with the farmers.

Later, speaking on the sidelines of the function on the ground situation, he observed that problems are likely to be faced by the IPM team as people out there even though they are said to be farmers, the field works are done by engaged labourers, mostly non-locals.

It is also observed that the farmers are seen taking less interest in paddy or other food crops, and more in the business activities.

Three agricultural scientists of the CAU, Professor Dr L Nabachnadra, Professor Dr A Herojit Singh and assistant professor Dr Kh Ibohal Singh were the resource persons of the technical session of the campaign.

Farmers attending the programme informed on use of various organic pesticides most importantly DDT in their fields without knowing the side effects of the compound which is banned in the country since 1989. They said they had been using DDT for quite a long time in their fields as it was one of the most effective insecticides.

They also said that the same was available in their local markets.

Dr. Kh Ibohal Singh, who spoke on Integrated Pest Management, IPM, was worried on the farmers unawareness on the side effects of the organic compound. He said that the chemical stability of DDT and its fat solubility compounded the problem.

DDT is not metabolized very rapidly by animals; instead, it is deposited and stored in the fatty tissues. The biological half-life of DDT is about eight years; that is, it takes about eight years for an animal to metabolize half of the amount it assimilates. If ingestion continues at a steady rate, DDT builds up within the animal over time, he said.

He said presence of this chemical compound in the human body could cause liver and lung cancer.

The chemical is used for controlling malaria but it is no more useful in killing the vector mosquitoes spreading malaria as they develop resistance. "DDT no more kills the vector mosquitoes," he said.

In an interaction on the sidelines of the programme, Ibohal said that wrong use of DDT is reported in four hill districts of the state, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Churachandpur.

The IPM team leader, AO, Ph Rajendro Singh while giving the keynote address called upon the farmers to invite cooperation of the farmers for setting up a model agriculture village in the sub-division telling the success story of the IPM team in the valley areas of the state.

Agriculture minister, N Loken Singh assured all the support from his department`s side in taking up any steps by his officials in collaboration with the farmers calling for a green revolution in Manipur.

Later, the visiting team in the border sub-division with Assam, which depends on the production from Cachar district in Assam, with cooperation of the farmers resolved to set up a model agricultural village in the sub-division from this year`s kharif season.


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