Economic Evaluation of Pesticide Use Externalities in the Cotton Zones of Punjab, Pakistan

M. Azeem Khan, Muhammad Iqbal, Iftikhar Ahmad, Mazoor H Soomro


At the inception of Pakistan in 1947, there was practically no
plant protection service in the country and economic soundness of plant
protection measures was not even realized for a long time. The use of
chemicals as preventive measures to reduce losses by insects and
diseases was almost non-existent during 1960s. However, the “grow more”
pressure rendered the traditional methods insufficient, to control the
ever increasing pest problem from 1970s onwards. Consumption of
pesticides in Pakistan has increased from 665 metric tonnes (MT) in 1980
(when subsidy was withdrawn) to 69897 MT in 2002. This colossal increase
in pesticide consumption has not led necessarily to an increase in the
yield of crops, as demonstrated by Poswal and Williamson (1998) and
Ahmad and Poswal (2000). This indiscriminate use of pesticides has
destroyed the bio-control agents in the agro-ecosystems and the
populations of natural enemies of the insects and pests have declined up
to 90 percent during the last decade (of the past century) especially,
in cotton growing areas of the country [Hasnain (1999)].

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