Read the text below and answer Questions 1-6.
NO PESTICIDES, HIGHER CROP YIELDS
It was in 1999 that Punukula, a tiny village in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam district successfully began experimenting with non-pesticidal management practices. The contaminated environment began to change. Soil and plant health looked revitalized, and the pests began to disappear. Restoring the ecological balance brought back the natural pest control systems. The crop yields were still higher. Punukula is not the only village to have escaped from the vicious cycle of poison. Thousands of villages in the country have clearly demonstrated that pesticides are not only harmful but also unnecessary.
In Bangladesh, 2,000 poor rice farmers with average farm incomes of Rs 4,000 a year have proved mainline agricultural scientists completely wrong. Gary John, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Manila, was completely stumped by the change they brought about in just two years. “To my surprise when people stopped spraying, yields didn’t drop- and this was across 600 fields in two different districts over four seasons. I’m convinced that the vast majority of insecticides that rice farmers use are a complete waste of time and money.”
Bangladesh rice farmers conclusively demonstrated that insecticides can be eliminated and nitrogen fertilizer applications reduced without lowering yields.
Some agricultural scientists have begun to realize that chemical pesticides are not necessary. The tragedy is that this recognition has come much late- only after poisoning the lands, contaminating the ground water, polluting the environment, putting millions to heath risk and fatalities, and killing thousands of farmers and farm workers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that some 20,000 people die every year from pesticides poisoning.
With the advent of modern science, which began to view everything traditional as backward and sub-standard, the collective wisdom of generations of farmers was lost. The result being that while expensive and unwanted pesticides are being promoted and pushed by scientists and extension workers, farmers are looking for safe and ecological alternatives. Is it not a fact that the chemical industry, which gained commercially from the surge in widespread use, has very cleverly used agricultural scientists as its promoters?
The chemical industry has meanwhile moved into life sciences. It now decries pesticides and sings the virtues of the new “promising technology”- genetic engineering. Pesticides are now being replaced with genetically modified crops, which perform the same functions. Agricultural scientists need to think whether they are once again being used as promoters of a technology, the negative impact of which have not been fully studied.
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
Choose the most appropriate option and write it in the given space.
- Punukula scripted its success story by
- getting higher crop yields
- restoring the ecological balance
- practising agriculture without pesticides
- being an example to other villages
- Bangladesh farmers have proved agricultural scientists wrong by
- not using insecticides sprays
- overcoming their poverty
- obtaining higher yields without insecticides
- increasing the number of insecticide free fields
- Farmers continue to use chemical pesticides because
- it poisons the lands
- thousands die due to poisoning
- they are not bothered about the ill effects
- there is lack of awareness
- The advent of modern science has led to
- rise in the prices of pesticides and chemicals
- loss of traditional farm practices and widespread use of pesticides
- a search for safe and ecological alternatives to pest control
- a shift from chemical industry to genetic engineering
- The ‘promising new technology’ is not so promising after all. This is becuse
- technology and agriculture are not related
- little is known about its negative effects
- it has more drawbacks than chemical pesticides
- it considers everything traditional as backward and substandard
- The word ‘decries’ (Paragraph 6) means the same as