Shopian: Some pesticide sellers in Shopian are recommending combinations of sprays which have neither been recommended by SKUAST agricultural varsity nor any horticulture scientist. These self-styled combinations of multiple fungicides may prove “lethal” for young plants, scientists warn.
An orchardist when asked why he is spraying a combination of horticulture mineral oil (HMO), fungicide and insecticide at the stage when even the first green tips of leaves has not emerged, he said that the combination was recommended to him by a local pesticide seller.
Many other orchardists have similarly been recommended combinations of three different pesticides for their first spray of the season in their orchards.
Javid Ahmad, an orchardist having over 25 kanals of land, said that pesticide sellers are frustrated due to raids conducted by law enforcement agencies and horticulture department against the sale of spurious pesticides. “They now want to sell anything, for it their lone source of income,” Ahmad said, and demanded that action be taken against such people who cheat others.
On the other hand, orchardists who spray according to recommendations of pesticide sellers are equal partners in this crime, for they are neither consulting the horticulture department nor following the spray schedule issued by SKUAST scientists.
Gulzar Ahmed, a horticulture expert, said that apple growers should avoid the prescriptions of pesticide sellers, and should instead consult the horticulture department or ask any scientist of the district-based Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs).
Dr Tariq Rasool, a senior SKUAST pathology scientist, told Kashmir Reader that that such combination of multiple pesticides and fungicides can have disastrous effects on trees and fruit set-up. “The first spray of HMO with insecticide is wastage of money and lethal to the environment. When environmental-friendly HMO is killing the insects of San Jo’s Scale and Red Mite, what is the point of spraying insecticide with it which can badly affect the fruit set and pollute the environment,” he said.
He added that there is no need to mix HMO with fungicide as Shopian is a hilly region and here buds sprout late compared to lower regions. “People can spray fungicide with HMO when there is much need of it, which means when the green tip has sprouted and the weather forecast ahead is rainy,” he said.
Experts also said that the spray of insecticide at this stage is lethal in the absence of leaves. They said that the sprays disperse more in the air when there are no leaves and it causes problems to the people living adjacent to orchards. It can also have negative effects on the fruit set-up as the fungicides kill the beneficial insects which play a vital role in pollination.