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AINP on Pesticide Residues, ICAR, Unit-9


    Pesticides as a group include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, acaricides, fumigants, plant growth regulators and other miscellaneous compounds. Usage of these chemicals in last five decades, in general, has undoubtedly led to improved human health particularly from malaria and dramatically increased crop yield through reduction of crop loss due to pests such as insects, plant diseases, weeds, etc. It has been estimated that if pesticide were not used in agriculture, the crop loss in the world would have been around 40 %. Thus, there is no doubt that chemical pesticides have played a vital role in increasing our agriculture production during the era of green revolution and that they will continue play a major role even in times to come. Unfortunately, indiscriminate use of these chemicals has resulted in reduction in biodiversity of natural enemies, outbreak of secondary pests, development of resistance to pesticides, pesticide induced resurgence and contamination of food and ecosystem. In fact presence of pesticide residues in food is of major concern all over the world, and their entry into the food chain may lead to disastrous consequences. Today, agriculture has become a subject of international multilateral trade under the WTO agreement. Many developed countries, of late, apply phytosanitary standards and environmentally and socially unacceptable cultivation practices as barriers to international trade. Besides, the consumers of the importing countries are rejecting questionable products resulting in heavy losses to the exporters. In this context, presence of toxic residues is a major hurdle in the acceptance of the food commodities by the importing countries. Hence it is important that our farm products are free from toxic pesticide residues.

   With an objective to find out the presence of pesticide residues in food commodities, Indian Council of Agricultural Research Initiated All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Pesticide Residues (presently known as All India Network Project on Pesticide Residues) in 1983 with the participation of 15 State Agricultural Universities and two ICAR institutes. In Gujarat, the work on pesticide residues was started in Gujarat Agricultural University( now known as Anand Agricultural University), Anand through this project and a well-equipped Pesticide Residue Laboratory has been established in BTRS building under ICAR Cell, Unit-9. The funding of the project is through ICAR, New Delhi and the Government of Gujarat on 75:25 basis.

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