IPM is a common-sense method that builds on
practices that farmers have used for centuries, for example, using
varieties resistant to pests, altering time of sowing and harvest,
hoeing, removing crop residues and using botanical pesticides (eg
neem and tobacco extracts). The name, IPM, goes back at least to
the 1960s. In 1967, FAO defined IPM as 'a pest management system
that, in the context of the associated environment and the population
dynamics of the pest species, utilizes all suitable techniques in
as compatible a manner as possible and maintains the pest population
at levels below those causing economic injury'. It seeks to reduce
pest populations to economically manageable levels through a combination
of cultural control (eg crop rotation, inter-cropping), physical
controls (hand picking of pests, use of pheromones to trap pests),
and less toxic chemical controls. However, it allows the use of
chemical pesticides, even synthetic and toxic ones, when there is
a need. IPM techniques are specific to the agro-ecological production
conditions in any given location, and may involve the use of pesticides.
As a result, few general principles can be applied and no absolute
standards set for production.
In Pakistan, research on IPM has a fairly long history. This was
initiated as early as 1971 at the PARC research station in Rawalpindi,
first as a seven year PL-480 funded project on bollworms, and a
3-year PL-480 project on the whitefly, and an institutional support
project on integrated pest management, funded by the Asian Development
However, these projects have not had a serious
impact on production methods. A major reason is the limited nature
of the project, without efforts to mainstream it in the functioning
of the major research institutions, especially the system of cotton
research institutes. Second, the extension system is not equipped
to handle results from the IPM research, since there are hardly
any avenues for training of extension staff in this technology.
Finally, the educational institutions (especially the entomology
departments of agriculture universities) do not provide training
or specialization in IPM, to ensure a steady stream of experts for
staffing research, education, and extension departments.
Today, the number of institutions that influence
agricultural allocation decisions runs into scores if not hundreds.
To list only the most prominent of these, the Pakistan Central Cotton
Committee (PCCC), the system of Cotton Research Institutes (CRIs),
the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council system, the Textile Commissioner,
the Agricultural Prices Commission, the Federal Seed Certification
Department (FCSD), various agricultural universities, and the Export
Promotion Bureau (EPB). The country has 4,000 agricultural scientists,
500 agricultural extension agents, and proportional numbers of officials
in seed certification and supply, agricultural machinery provision,
policy development and agricultural pricing, and agricultural credit,
all in the public sector.