Technology for Futuristic Pesticides - Current Global Status

Article Index

Code No: TMS051 Price: 1250 Category: Foods & Agriculture: Inputs to the Soil

ES.1.0. The Assignment

The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, Department of Science and Technology, has commissioned the compilation of this Report pertaining to Futuristic Pesticides.

ES.1.2. The objective of the study is to bring our the current status of the pesticides in the world, identify the preferred products / technology groups under Indian conditions and suggest an action plan as well as agencies for its implementation.

ES.2.0 Pesticides

Pesticides, used for combating the pests including insects, weeds, fungii, rodents ad other for m of human ,life including virus, bacteria and other micro-organisms have made a phenomenal contribution worldwide towards the production and preservation of food, fibre and cash crops, as also to eradication of dieses and maintenance of public health.

The importance of continued development in the pesticides is more so in a country like India which is predominantly agricultural with about 80% of the population depending upon agriculture and living in rural areas. Indian population is expected to cross the 100 crore mark by 2000 AD, with the corresponding requirement of food grains exceeding 220 million tones. As against this, the availability of land per capita is expected to be only 0.14 hectares. As such, the critical role of pesticides in preventing crop losses, making available food at cheap rates and improvement in quality of food can not be overemphasized.

Besides ensuring the food supplies, pesticides have also to make a substantial contribution in increasing the production of cash crops like cotton, tea, coffee, tobacco etc. which in addition to meeting the domestic requirement are so important for export earning.

Equally important is the contribution the pesticides have to make in preventing the diseases and maintaining health of the increasing population. According to WHO 2.5 lakh to 5 lakh children die annually due to Malaria. It is imperative that this trend be arrested.                                                                                                                                                Back

ES.3.0 Current Global Status

Inspite of severe environmental pressure the world market for pesticides has grown phenomenally from just US$ one billion in 1960 to about US$ 26 billion in 1990. Western Europe and USA are the world leaders with shares of about 30.2% and 22.7%. There is a boom in the global pesticide market and new insecticides, herbicides and fungicides and their formulations are being introduced with greater level of activity, however, with conscious efforts for minimizing the hazards to the human beings and the environment.

ES.4.0 Current Status in India

Indian pesticide industry has also made a remarkable progress having achieved the status of second longest basic pesticide manufacturer I Asia after Japan. Further encouraging developments in the recent years include almost total self reliance with imports constituting less than 5% of total consumption of about 70,000 tonnes annum, indigenous development of several new products and processes, and penetration into overseas markets with exports already having touched a level of about Rs. 150 crores. However, there is still a long way to go considering that the per capita consumption of pesticides in India is just 475 gms per hectare as compared to 11800 gms per hectare in Japan and 3000 gms per hectare in USA.

ES.5.0 International trends in the development of new pesticides

(a) Responding to the economic, social and environmental requirements, there have been rapid developments in pesticide products and technologies. Starting from Dithiocarbamates in 1930, and DDT in 1942, the world has come through the stages of organophosphates, carbamates, synthetic pyrethroids, and later into still new discoveries. Some of the pesticide products/technologies representing the current trends are:

a) Insecticides Propesticides, New Synthetic pyrethroids, Chitin inhibitors, Natural base pesticides, Pheromones Metomorphosis, disruptors (Juvenile and moulting hormonemimics etc.)
b) Herbicides Sulphonylureas, Glyphosate, ethiozin, fusillade; bioherbicides.
c) Fungicides Azole

(b) In the field of Public health, the new developments include the use of synthetic pyrethroids, primiphos methyl etc. WHO .has recommended the use of bed nets soaked with permethrin.

ES.6.0 Current developments in the field of pesticides in India

There have been commendable efforts by the Government Research Laboratories, pesticides industry, and several other agencies in the field of R & D, studies for bio efficacy, toxicology, environmental impact as well as technology commercialization.

Though the bulk volume pesticide like BHC and DDT still constitute a bulk of the pesticides consumed, India is moving gradually into the production and use of high performance low volume products. The notable recent entrants are synthetic pyrethorids. Cypermethrin and Fenvalerate, Acephate, Anilophos, Glyphosate etc.

The R & D activities of the Research Laboratories and the pesticide manufacturers are yielding good results. Processes have been developed for several important products including Monocrotophos, Neem Extracts,. Butachlor, Anilphos, Edifenphos, pheromones etc. Furture R & D perspectives relate to process development for chlorphriphos, Flucythrinate, Alphamethrin chlorosulfuron, Thiophernate etc.                                                                                                                           Back

ES.7.0 Current trends in formulation technology

An extensive work is being carried out world wide, for developing new formulation technologies which would serve the objectives of easier applications, labour saving, improved safety, reduced toxicity, minimization of environmental pollution, higher efficacy and reduced cost. The areas of development include suspension concentrates, Micromulsions, granules, microgranules, water dispersible granules, concentrated emulsions; etc. slow controlled release products etc.

ES.8.0 Enviromental Considerations

There has been a considerable concern and debate on the possible adverse effects of pesticides on life and environment due to toxicity, residues, carcinogenicity, contamination of soil, water and air etc.

In response to this concern, the development in pesticide is directed towards discovering new products with lower toxicity and ecological impact, as well as reduced dosages and employing processes which are less hazardous. An interesting example would be the decreasing oral LD-50 toxicity in the successive generations of insecticides DDT (Organochlorine)-118mg/g; Fenitrothion (organophosphate) – 570 mg/g; Permethrin (Pyrethriod) – 1500 mg/kg; chlorfruaron (insecticide growth regulator) – 8500 mg/g.

ES.9.0 Techno- Economic Considerations

Quantitatively, the demand of Pesticides is estimated to grow to about 1,08,000 tonnes by 1994-95 and 1,18,000 tonnes by the year 2000 A.D. qualitatively, the demand of high performance and environmentally acceptable products will increase.

The overall cost-benefit consideration including environmental factors, warrant that though the use of conventional and cheaper pesticides may be continued for some time, the new and advanced pesticides are bound to prove more beneficial in the longer perspective.

The development and manufacture of new pesticides is also important not only for reducing the dependence on continued imports and the foreign exchange outgo but also for boosting the exports, the potential of which has already been well established.

Though there are several constraints in discovering new products, it is well within our capabilities to develop new processes for the internationally proven and well established products with improved characteristics including low toxicity, high specificity and suitability to Indian conditions.

Pesticides industry is quite favourably placed with respect to the availability of Raw Material. However there are constraints regarding some intermediates for newer pesticides.

ES.10.0 Identification of Preferred products/technology groups for futuristic pesticides

Based on considerations in the proceeding chapters, a broad identification of some products/ technology groups has been made.

These include propesticides, Natural base pesticides, chitin inhibitors, pheromones, Metamorphosis disruptors sulphonyl ureas, Dinitroanillines, Triazoles etc.

ES.11.0 Suggestions on action plan and identification of agencies of the same

Suggestions include encouragement of direct foreign investment for establishing capacities for advanced technology high performance pesticides, consolidation of Research and Development activities for Process Development relating to certain selected products, and restructuring of supporting infrastructure for studies relating to bio-efficacy, toxicology etc. with a centralized data base.