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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Parthenium causes up to 40% yield loss in various crops - report scientists

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A GUEST ARTICLE BY:  kathak Mehta

Every morning as you take the newspaper in hand and hear about prices of food grains, vegetables, and other agricultural produce rising, you wonder whether it is the national policy makers to blame or the agriculturists; whether you can do anything about it or go ahead and take things as they come rather than fret over it. One of the major reason, by the way,  as often cited by print media for the rise in the prices of vegetables, pulses and other food grains is more demand and less supply.  This supply-demand mismatch they conveniently say is the villain.  But, as the day goes on, with numerous other chores, you forget about it completely until you stumble upon another such headline a few days later. 

Invariably the prices of agriculture products are on an all-time high - a fact which I too worried over in the mornings, only till I got too busy into the routine of the day.  Incidentally on some such morning recently, I came across a piece of news which talked about how various weeds are a major source of loss in crop yield and it talked about Parthenium - an obnoxious and one of the most feared weed species in the nation. 

According to Directorate of Weed Science Research (DWSR), Parthenium is reported to cause 15-27% and up to 40% yield loss in various crops.

Scientists say that parthenium weed control could help increase crop yield and the country’s food grains production by 25-30 per cent.  “Proper management of the weed could increase crop yield by 30 per cent and help us achieve self-sufficiency in import-dependent food items such as pulses and edible oil,” DWSR Director Jay. G. Varshney said.

Ahh! then it clicked to me,
If this is to be believed, this, up to 40% yield loss due to parthenium can be one of the major reasons of the hike in grain prices.  And we thought it was only the policy makers and the government which was responsible. 
A lot of us might not have come across parthenium weed and may not have been touched by its adverse effects as such.  But I am sure after reading this, we realize that each one of us is a victim of the adversity of Parthenium to a sizeable extent.

Parthenium is spreading like wild fire in India.  Its growth rate on an average is 5% annually since parthenium weed produces large quantities of seeds, up to 100,000 per plant.

For a country like India which has a large and diverse agriculture and where agriculture plays an important role in the economic, social, and political fabric, these figures are alarming!

The situation calls for immediate action.  It’s time we initiate a movement against parthenium as the Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev movements against corruption before we realize it’s too late.   As we are trying to remove corruption from the roots of the system, let us also join our hands to uproot parthenium from the nation!
P.S.  There is a blatant need for an efficient product for treatment of parthenium.  Anyone who has or knows of a technology for treatment of parthenium is requested to post it here.   

Key Words: Parthenium, crop, agriculture, crop,Anna Hajare, Baba Ramdeo

 Contact : kathak.mehtaa@gmail.com 

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