28 October, 2020

Do It With Chillies

A village shows the way to tackle pests with indigenous, non-chemical means

D. Ravinder Reddy
Do It With Chillies
Punukula was just another sleepy village in Andhra Pradesh's Khammam district till word spread about a quiet revolution taking place there. Now farmers from across the state are trooping in to see for themselves: is what they have heard true? Can cotton really be grown without spraying chemical pesticides? The farmers of Punukula have many success stories to narrate but are getting tired of all the attention. "By the time the morning batch is ready to leave, the evening lot of visitors is already arriving," says Hemlanayak, grumbling about the sudden flood of people to his village.

Last month, Punukula's 12-member panchayat passed a resolution banning sale or use of chemical pesticides in the village. The news has naturally come as a radical shift in a state which has the dubious distinction of having the highest consumption of pesticide in the country. However, the Punukula panchayat's resolution was not some arbitrary decision but the result of a planned programme. It was a decision which had the support of all the farmers in the village.

It was in 1998 that members...


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