Integrated pest management or IPM is a holistic approach to agriculture focusing on suppressing the pest population with the least possible disruption to agro ecosystems. The practice promotes the use of various tools such as crop rotation, pest resistant/ tolerant cultivars, weed control, field sanitation etc.


The United Nations General Assembly announced the year 2020 as the year of plant health, a step to create awareness that protecting plant health will give us an opportunity to reduce poverty, protect the environment and boost economic productivity. Hence, the role of integrated pest management becomes even more crucial.

IPM stands strong on Prevention through monitoring. The first step to any management system is to prevent the damage itself. By monitoring pest activity regularly, farmers can prevent pest outbreak itself. It is important to understand the working conditions and select crop varieties accordingly.  Frequent and consistent Inspection of crops helps monitor pests, including weeds and diseases. Farmers need to be trained to be able to distinguish between pests and beneficial insects and have access to experts to determine if intervention is necessary.

Over the years, the use of “good/ beneficial worms” such as the Green Lacewing Larvae prey on a variety of soft bodied insects and pests, keeping farms secure. Another interesting technique is to set up “trap crops”. Farmers plant crops that are attractive to insects and treat these crops with insecticides. Japanese beetles can be trapped with soybeans while harlequin bugs are attracted by mustard plants; and radishes can be used to attract corn and cabbage maggots.

However, IPM needs to evolve with the times, because pests also develop immunity towards the various control methods. 2020 as the international year of plant health serves as an opportunity to create renewed awareness around IPM.

Only with the help of farmer self-help groups, NGOs that are training farmers across the country, civil society creating policies for agriculture, companies investing in R&D and the science community committed to IPM, can we ensure that our farmers are able to grow quality and nutritious food.