Debdulal Bhattacharya, Debal Deb, and Mahendra Nauri
Numerous herbal pesticide techniques are known to traditional farmers around the world. In Odisha, India, farmers break these natural remedies into three categories: pest repellants (e.g. garlic), pest reproductive inhibitors (e.g. neem oil), and pest killers (e.g. custard apple seed extract). It’s common for farmers to experimentally use different combinations of these components to control multiple types of pest insects. Debdulal Bhattacharya, Debal Deb, and Mahendra Nauri are three innovative farmers from Basudha farm (a field station of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies used for conducting research and experiments). Attempting to create a new herbal pesticide formula, they prepared a mixture combining components from different categories. They also set out to create a mixture that would enrich the soil. They succeeded.
Mixed in equal proportions, cattle urine and custard apple leaf extract are the two ingredients in Debdulal, Debal, and Mahendra’s herbal pesticide. Cattle urine is a strong insect repellant as well as kills certain insect larvae. Custard apple leaf extract kills off a wide range of insect pests, including hoppers and stem borers. Once in use, the farmers saw their innovation successfully repelling insects. Also, as predicted, they noticed healthier soils (cow’s urine contains a substantial amount of nitrate nitrogen, which enriches soil with nitrogen that is readily available to the plant roots for uptake). After spraying their mixture on the crops, their herbal pesticide drips down the stem to the ground, killing off a range of insect pests and then fertilizing the soil.
A Growing Culture partnered with Debal Deb and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Basudha Trust in Odisha, India, to document this technique, safeguarding the knowledge for generations to come.
This innovation has important environmental and economic impacts. Using locally-available resources, the herbal pesticide saves famers money and eliminates the need for external inputs. This effectively strengthens the local economy. Additionally, this innovation relies on natural, locally-appropriate remedies instead of chemical formulas. As a result, it eliminates harmful runoff. Additionally, it selectively eliminates pests, which protects biodiversity on the farm. Finally, as both a pesticide and a fertilizer, this innovation eases the workload for farmers.