Socio-economic implications of pesticide use in bathinda district of the punjab state
The excessive use of the pesticides in agriculture has not only increased production cost but also led to negative externalities. The present study is an attempt to analyse the socio-economic implications of pesticide use in Bathinda district known as cotton belt as it has maximum area under cotton cultivation. Among eight blocks, two blocks namely Talwandi Sabo having maximum area under cotton cultivation and Phul block having maximum area under paddy cultivation had been selected for the study. Therefore, in the present study entitled "Socio-Economic Implications of Pesticide use in Bathinda District of the Punjab State", an attempt has been are made to access efficiency of two farms growing cotton and paddy and also to find out the impact of pesticides on gross returns of the crops and also on health of farmers and agricultural labourers. The farmers and agricultural labourers engaged in growing cotton and paddy were randomly selected across two villages i.e. Laleana and Rayia respectively. The primary data was collected from 120 farmers and 80 agricultural labourers through structure schedules . The data was analysed using Data Envelopment Analysis programme, Simple regression analysis, Multiple (Step-up) regression analysis and Probit model. The rate of return from pesticides for cotton crop for large farmers (Rs. 13.40) was less than medium farmers (Rs. 14.31) and small farmers (Rs. 15.44). It was the highest for small farmers (Rs. 15.44) showing that it decreases with the increase in the expenditure on pesticides. Likewise for paddy, rate of return was less for large farmers (Rs. 18.56) as they incurred more on pesticides while the highest for small farmers (Rs. 22.67). Regarding the impact of different inputs iv used for returns of cotton, pesticides were significant and positive input while for paddy; labour was significant and positive variable. The result of technical efficiency reveals that cotton farms were less efficient than paddy farms. Usage of pesticides had harmful effect upon the health of farmers and agricultural labourers indicating that those were using manual backup sprayer face many problems. The farmers should be educated to identify the threshold level of pest infestation and take measures only after that instead of blindly following the neighbouring farmers while applying pesticides.