Biodiversity Conservation - Challenges for the Future

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Collective Action on Improving Environmental and Economic Performance of Vegetable Production: Exploring Pesticides Safety in India

Pp. 127-135 (9)

Sreejith Aravindakshan and Sherief A. K.

Abstract

From the chemical input-intensive yield-enhancement practices of the Green Revolution era, agricultural research and development focus is gradually shifting towards establishing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in fruits and vegetable sector. The dominant problems affecting fruits and vegetables in terms of safety is presence of pesticide residues. Globally, authorities have long highlighted this risk and imposed appropriate maximal limits of residues (MLRs). In spite of imposing MLRs in fresh vegetables, negative health effects of pesticides residue in consumers have been increasingly reported from states of India like Kerala. Along with other factors, food quality and safety declination resulting from inappropriate chemicals and pesticide use during crop production is widely documented as one of the root-causes of the health issues. The weak quality assurance schemes in developing countries impede smallholders’ inclusion in high value chains due to imperfect institutional and governance arrangements throughout the system. Apparently, erstwhile studies have emphasized the significance of collective action among smallholders as a solution to the above constraints. However, past studies on vegetable production in India are either from a horticultural and entomological perspective on increasing production and productivity, pest management or on cost of cultivation and those solely from an econometric, institutional and collective action perspective have been hardly studied. Still lesser are studies understanding the inter-linkages between smallholders’ collective action and pesticides risk reduction in vegetable production of India. In this backdrop, the current study examines various econometric models and suggests suitable models to assess the institutional mechanisms on improving environmental and economic performance of vegetable production in India under collective action.

Keywords:

Agricultural practices, bio-control agents, crop rotation, data envelopment, ecological conditions, food safety, insecticides, organic farming, pathogenic, pesticide safety, pest management, poverty reduction, quality assurance, smallholders, vegetable production.

Affiliation:

Farming Systems Ecology, Wageningen UR, the Netherlands.