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An exploratory study on using rural poultry as a source of bio-control agent for plantation and some vegetables

Author: 
Ram Bahal Rai, Kuldeep Dhama, Sandip Chakraborty, Thukkaram Damodaran, Balvir Singh, Hamid Ali, Sweta Rai, Mohd. Yaqoob Wani and Ram Awadh Ram
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

The continuous explosion in human population growth is putting pressure on agriculture land. Though use of pesticides covers wide range of plants, the main concern to human health is fruits and vegetables which are eaten raw. Many of the pesticides have genocidal effect too. Many of the natural bio-control agents disappeared due to changes in the ecosystem. Situation will worsen in future due to damage to the ecosystem. In the present exploratory study, while improving the production and productivity of vegetables and fruit crops, rural poultry was evaluated as bio-control agents. The present study has been conducted in 65 villages of Barabanki and Raebareli districts of Uttar Pradesh, India under the World Bank funded NAIP of ICAR during 2009-2012. The aim of the project was to create sustainable livelihood security through novel low input-highly profitable technological interventions in an integrated manner. Guava seedlings were transplanted at 3x3m spacing and integrated with rural poultry. Integration of banana plantation with rural poultry was made on the same line. The chicks were integrated with brinjal, ladies finger, capsicum and tomato on the same line. No pesticides were used in any of the integration. The banana plantation field developed thick canopy by 7th-8th month beyond which rearing of birds was problematic. The guava plantations allowed the rearing of birds throughout the year and during 4 years of the observations. The minimum plantation area assessed for each grower bird was 5-6 sq.m which allowed all the cultural operations in the plantations. There was not a single plant affected with any insect/ pest. Leaves were green and normal. In contrast the non-integrated plantations had perforated leaves, attacks of pest and diseases (mild degree) and growth was slower. Erected vegetables integration showed contrast results. In integrated fields, the seedling mortality was less than 4% compared to 12-16% in non-integrated fields. Termite problem in integrated field could not be observed but was seen in the non-integrated fields. Integration of rural poultry with plantations and vegetables was done keeping in view 3 facts viz. providing biomass in form of microbe rich feces, utilization of interspaces increasing productivity per unit area and exploring the chances of reduction of pest population. Because of the exploratory nature the study however requires further investigations.

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