Insecticide on Himachal govt’s spray schedule not available in market

Subhash Rajta

Shimla, February 21

An insecticide mentioned in the spray schedule of the Horticulture Department for stone fruits (peaches, plums and apricots) is not available in the market.

"The Horticulture Department recommends the use of oxydemeton methyl, which is sold under the trade name of metasystox, for controlling leaf curl aphid in stone fruits. The insecticide, however, is not available in the market for the past couple of years," says Deepak Singha, founder of the Plum Growers Forum.

He says, "Leaf curl aphid is the most common and dangerous disease in stone fruits. Unfortunately, the growers do not have an insecticide recommended by the Horticulture Department to control the disease".

Director, Horticulture Department, RK Pruthi says that the spray schedule on the department's website will be updated in a couple of days. "The spray schedule available on the website is old. I have issued orders for its update in the next couple of days. The updated schedule will have no banned pesticides," he adds.

Meanwhile, pesticide sellers corroborated the growers' version that metasystox is not available in the market. "It's not available for the past four years, at least in Himachal Pradesh. When we contacted the company, we were told that it's not being manufactured now," says Ravi Sharma, a pesticide seller in Narkanda.

As an alternative, the growers are using dimethoate to control the disease. This, however, is not readily available at many places. "As dimethoate is not on the spray schedule of the department, not all pesticide sellers keep it," says Singha.

He adds that the SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir recommends dimethoate. "I wonder what our University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, is using to control green curl aphid. It should share the name of the insecticide with the public so that everyone can use it," says Singha.

He says that he had apprised the department about the unavailability of metasystox at a meeting held for preparing the spray schedule in November. "Since then, the department has not updated the schedule. And now the department is updating the spray schedule with an alternative to metasystox, but the time for spraying is already over. Pesticide is sprayed till around February 20," Singha adds.

'Out of production'

  • Out of production, says pesticide seller in Narkanda
  • The spray schedule on Horticulture Department's website to be updated soon, says Director RK Pruthi
Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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