Farmers in Tirupur have hit upon this novel idea to fight pest infestation on crops. With costly chemical pesticides failing to give the desired results, farmers have begun to experiment by spraying diluted liquor on their agricultural fields. And they believe it is working wonders.
“It’s affordable, easily available and much effective than costly pesticides sold in the market,” says N Surendar, a farmer from Udumalpet. He dissolves about a quarter brandy in about 10 litres of water to spray on half an acre brinjal farm.
Only a few farmers began this practice a few years ago. As the results were positive and as the success story spread by word of mouth, many farmers have now adopted the novel method.
Farmers use liquor pesticide mainly for crops such as onions, tomatoes, brinjals, ladies finger, green chilli and coriander leaves. Farmers have also been using banned toddy, which has alcoholic content as pesticide.
Farmers, mainly 80 per cent of them involved in cultivating onions, in the district have been spraying liquor instead of pesticide for the past few years. “It costs up to Rs 1,500 to buy pesticides to prevent fungus attack on onions. Whereas, it is much cheaper to buy liquor. One of my friends used alcohol on his fields and the results were good,” said M Subramani, a farmer from Sarkarpudur and a member of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam
SR Madhusudhanan, vice president of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said that farmers in the district were catching up with the trend of using of liquor to tackle the infestation.“If alcohol is sprayed, insects get drowsy and eventually die or fall of the plant. It can be used to fight fungus attack on onions, which requires regular doses of pesticide to control infestation,” he said, adding, “However, I don’t encourage farmers to use liquor instead of pesticide as it is not a permanent solution. Some pests may be controlled with liquor spray, but it doesn’t work out for all kinds.”
When queried, S Manoharan, Joint Director of Agriculture Department, termed the use of liquor for controlling pests as an unscientific method. “Farmers in both Coimbatore and Tirupur are using liquor instead of pesticide. But it is an unscientific method. The Agriculture Department does not recommend such practices,” he said.
However, the officer added that using liquor does not cause any harm to either the crop or soil. “So, the department can’t ban its use.
The research division of the department will carry out a study by visiting farm fields to understand the impact of liquor on crops,” he said.