Farmers in India’s south-western state of Uttar Pradesh have been left scratching their heads over a policy that has resulted in the destruction of the state’s native plant life and an explosion of weeds and pests.
India’s agricultural sector has been rocked by a series of droughts, crop failures and other problems, but the main culprits have been the agroecological management of farmers and their dependence on pesticides, which has caused crop failure and a loss of biodiversity, according to an official survey.
The report by the state government of Uttararakhand, conducted by the Centre for Agricultural Science, Rural Development and Policy (CARESP), shows that India’s food security, food security is being eroded as the country becomes more reliant on pesticide use.
According to the study, India’s agroforestry sector lost around 12 percent of its total annual agricultural land, the majority due to land-use policies that resulted in over-use of pesticides, the report said.
It said that over-consumption of pesticides by farmers has led to soil erosion and degraded biodiversity, resulting in the decline of native plant species.
This is not the first time India’s crop failure has resulted from over-policing of farmers.
In 2015, the world witnessed the death of more than 8 million hectares of crop due to pesticides.
In Uttararakhew, a state in the state of Haryana, farmers are blamed for killing over a million hectares, which is around 20 percent of the country’s agricultural land.
In Uttararakawa, a district in Uttar Pradesh, about 50,000 hectares of land is under cultivation with farmers destroying more than 15,000 acres of agricultural land a year.
This has not been the case in neighbouring Maharashtra where farmers are using pesticides to kill pests, such as cotton beetles, a pest that is spreading across the country.
The area under cultivation in Maharashtra, a major agrocement hub, is about 50 percent larger than the size of Uttarakhawa.
“We are using all sorts of pesticides on our crops to eradicate pests, but these pests are growing up in the soil,” said Shanti Devi, a farmer from the district of Bhiwani.
“We are having the worst crop failure in Maharashtra.”
The farmers have also blamed their inability to protect their crops against the pests, which are often planted in close proximity to each other and cause the plants to spread quickly.
“Our crops are not protected against the weeds, which will come and kill the crops,” said Bhiwan Singh, a farm owner from Bhiwa village in Uttararakwa.
“When the weeds come, we don’t have time to protect them,” he added.
According the report, India has lost around 4.8 million hectares (17.5 million acres) of its agricultural land over the last three years due to the loss of native flora and fauna due to farmers using pesticides, especially the use of herbicides, the destruction or cultivation of trees, and cultivation of land that had been degraded by the use, over-farming, or conversion of forest to agriculture.
India is a major producer of pesticides in the world and India has some of the world’s highest pesticide use levels.
The World Health Organization estimates that the use by farmers in India exceeds 70 percent of global usage.
The Indian government has made efforts to curb pesticide use, but farmers have complained that they have no control over the use and have little incentive to use pesticides.