Banning Use Of TB Drug On Crops

  • Recently, the Registration Committee (RC) under the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) recommended banning the use of antibiotics streptomycin and tetracycline on various crops.

Need for Ban

  • Misuse on Various Crops: Although streptocycline use is allowed for eight crops by the CIBRC, it was found to be used on many more crops in practice across the country.
  • Indiscriminate Use: In the assessment carried out in agricultural farms of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, CSE had found that streptocycline, a 90:10 combination of streptomycin and tetracycline, was being routinely and indiscriminately used by farmers in high doses in crops.
  • Antibiotic Resistance: Exposure to antibiotics can lead to development of antibiotic resistance in humans and animals.

Key Points

  • The committee recommended a complete ban with immediate effect on crops where other options were available for bacterial disease control.
  • The final report accepted the recommendation of the sub-committee on production, sale and use of streptomycin sulphate (9 percent) and tetracycline hydrochloride (1 per cent).
  • It recommended that streptomycin and tetracycline use be phased out by 2022-end for crops for which no alternatives were available.
  • Till then, the antibiotics could be used on crops strictly as per the label claim.

Suggested Measures

  • Antibiotics should not be used as pesticides for crops, but preserved for treatment of bacterial infections in humans.
  • It also acknowledged that diseases in crops can be managed by using integrated pest management and other practices.

Impact

  • With this ban / phase-out, misuse of streptomycin and tetracycline in crops for which it was not approved will be checked.
  • This will also help plug gaps such as registering them in the name of pesticides or using them in an unregulatory fashion in the absence of prescription.

Streptomycin

  • It is an aminoglycoside antibiotic derived from Streptomyces griseus with antibacterial activity.
  • It is on the World Health Organization's (WHO) List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.
  • The WHO  classifies it as critically important for human medicine

Applications

  • It used to treat a number of bacterial infections.
  • This includes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium complex, endocarditis, brucellosis, Burkholderia infection, plague, tularemia, and rat bite fever

Pesticide                   

  • Streptomycin also is used as a pesticide, to combat the growth of bacteria beyond human applications.
  • It controls bacterial diseases of certain fruit, vegetables, seed, and ornamental crops.

Integrated Pest Management

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.
  • Also known as integrated pest control (IPC) is a broad-based approach that integrates practices for economic control of pests.
  • IPM aims to suppress pest populations below the economic injury level (EIL).

Applications

  • IPM is used in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, human habitations, preventive conservation and general pest control, including structural pest management, turf pest management and ornamental pest management.

Components

An IPM system is designed around six basic components-

  • Monitoring: This includes regular site inspections and trapping to determine the types and infestation levels of pests at each site.
  • Record-Keeping: A record-keeping system is essential to establish trends and patterns in pest outbreaks. Information recorded at every inspection or treatment should include pest identification, population size, distribution, recommendations for future prevention, and complete information on the treatment action.
  • Action Levels: Pests are virtually never eradicated. An action level is the population size which requires remedial action for human health, economic, or aesthetic reasons.
  • Prevention: Preventive measures must be incorporated into the existing structures and designs for new structures. Prevention is and should be the primary means of pest control in an IPM program.
  • Tactics Criteria: Under IPM, chemicals should be used only as a last resort only, but when used, the least-toxic materials should be chosen, and applied to minimize exposure to humans and all non-target organisms.
  • Evaluation: A regular evaluation program is essential to determine the success of the pest management strategies.

Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee

It was set up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in the year 1970 to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides.

It advises the Central Government and State Governments on technical matters arising out of the administration of Insecticides Act and to carry out the other functions assigned to the Board by or under Insecticides rules.

To import or manufacture any insecticide, registration is required at the Registration Committee.

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, May, 2020