12 Dec, 2021
Cumin, commonly known in Hindi as jeera, is a widely used spice in various food cuisines and carries inbuilt medicinal properties. It is a prominent seed spice crop with good export potential and extensive domestic use in India. As a high-value seed spice, it is cultivated in many arid and semi-arid parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. But it is plagued by a variety of diseases and insect-pests such as wilt, blight, powdery mildew and insect infestation by aphids and thrips in moderate to severe form. Currently, an array of fungicides and insecticides are used to control these diseases.
Most cumin farmers apply pesticides on a calendar basis when pest infestation is suspected. Instead of understanding the true extent of the pest infestation and using the prescribed dosage at the correct stage of the crop, these pesticides are used without awareness of their impact on the crop and human health. Recently, these farmers are facing many issues on the quality production of cumin as well. To reduce the impact of pesticides on the crop as well as end produce, the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methodology addresses the harmful impact of synthetic chemical pesticides on the environment while remaining in favour of the farmers.
Due to the high cost of pesticides and many health-related risks, farmers are encouraged to adopt IPM techniques which will ultimately reduce the dependency on chemical pesticides. These techniques involve many cultural, biological, and mechanical practices to control the pests and reduce the application of pesticides. There is a need for greater awareness and capacity building of farmers towards sustainable agriculture practices. The developPPP.de project with AVT McCormick is working to strengthen the capacities of small farmers on sustainable agricultural practices while creating awareness on sustainable production of cumin in Rajasthan.
One IPM methodology is to use Yellow Sticky Traps in cumin fields. Insects and pests find these bright yellow colour traps (about 550 to 600 nm wavelength) highly attractive. These traps are rectangular cardboards with a sticky surface and are an effective IPM strategy in controlling and monitoring pest attacks. Placing these yellow sticky traps just 15 cm above the cumin crop canopy attracts the pests and catches them, allowing farmers to calculate a rough estimate of the pest. They are effective in providing an early warning of pest presence which is helpful in developing a safer environment-friendly control strategy. The project is advising farmers in the initial phases to use bioformulations to control the attack like spraying of Neem ark, Dashparni ark if the pest attack is below the economic threshold level. These practices have shown to reduce pesticide application and control many pests such as Aphids and Whitefly.
Cumin is very susceptible to aphid attacks. Thus, placing Yellow Sticky Traps in the cumin field is an effective way of controlling them. The devleopPPP project has demonstrated and distributed 50,000 yellow traps to 650 Cumin farmers in the Barmer and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan. As a result, pesticide use has reduced considerably leading to less input cost for the farmer, lesser exposure of workers to pesticides and ultimately, lesser pesticides.
The ‘Enhancement of Smallholder Spice Farmer’s Capacities in Sustainable Farming’ aims to strengthen the production of cardamom, cumin, and turmeric in four states of India - Kerala Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan - to increase the capacities of spice farmers to make production practices more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.
The project is part of the develoPPP.de Programme implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The lead executing agency for this project is AVT McCormick. develop.PPP was set up by BMZ to involve the private sector in areas where business opportunities and development policy initiatives overlap. Read More
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