Probably the single greatest management challenge to the farmer’s world over is that of pests diseases and weeds. Synthetic pesticides, which are the major solutions as of today, are valued for their effectiveness, long shelf life, ease of transportation, storage and application. But their persistent use has led to some fatal toxicity in solid, water and air. In order to have Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment (SAFE) renewed emphasis has been placed on the development of effective and efficient biorational approaches to manage different pests.
Botanical are supposed to have broad-spectrum activity, relatively specific in their mode of action and also easy to process and use. They tend to be safe for higher animals and environment. Botanical insecticides can often be easily produced by small-scale industries and amenable to advanced technologies. Biopesticides include botanical derivatives make only about 3-4% of the pesticide market and growth has been almost stagnant.
VMSRF has taken global lead in developing some of these botanical pesticides, especially from Neem, using encapsulation and nanotechnology. The leader amongst them is SoluNeem, which is patented worldwide and US EPS (United States Environmental Protection Agency) approved. In the arena of botanical pesticides itself, VMSRF has international patents to its credit. With its research capabilities in microbiology, nanotechnology, molecular biology and plant biotechnology, VMSRF proposed to Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Gol, to launch it as a Translational Research Centre (TRC) for developing, testing and accreditation of botanical pesticides as well as to develop infrastructure for certification of botanicals. VMSRF won the prestigious TRC through tough competition and rigorous selection procedure. This would be fully funded by DBT initially for three years with the possibility of extension by another two years.
The TRC on botanical pesticides provides a platform and single roof solutions to farmers, entrepreneurs, technocrats/scientists, investors, quality controls agencies and the regulatory authorities on botanical approaches for pest management. It would also facilitate to convert an idea into a concept and validate its technical and economical viability.
Through TRC project, a centralised Botanical pesticide database has been developed. This database consists of 312 listings of botanicals known for their pesticidal properties. Botanicals have yet not made place in the Indian agriculture as the first choice of the farmers though they are known for their safety to non-target organisms, reduced mammalian toxicity and absence of toxic residues. They are environmentally attractive, but are slow in action, restricted in their host spectrum and have limited field persistence. Plenty of information is generated across the world on different aspects of botanicals and on their effect and efficiencies against range of pests and for crop management. The information generated includes methods of extraction, chemistry, bio-efficacy tests, formulations, and much more. Searching for specific information for a researcher for furthering the all ready done work is a herculean task and many times results in duplication of work and is thus time consuming. A user friendly database, pooling all published information would enhance the efforts further and could result in identification of new pest control bio-chemicals. We have made an effort to develop a database putting all information, mostly related pesticidal properties. Here is the link
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