GUWAHATI, July 14 � European Union�s (EU�s) latest modifications in the existing Maximum Residual Limits (MRLs) of certain pesticides, is expected to boost export of Indian tea to the EU countries in the days to come, besides better control on certain pests in the tea estates of the country.
Around three per cent of the total tea (around 950 million kilograms last year) produced in India finds its way to the EU countries, where the MRL norms are very strict.
According to noted consultant tea scientist Prafulla Bordoloi, the EU modified existing MRLs of Thiamethoxam, a very effective insecticide against Helopeltis, the dreaded pest of tea, to 20 milligram (mg) a kg. Another modification of MRLs of Clothianidin to 0.7 mg a kg is also welcome as this insecticide is very effective against Scale insects and Mealy bugs which are recent pest problems in North Indian tea plantations.
Judicious application of selected pesticides at recommended doses controls pests effectively and creates no problem in export. Control of Red spider and other mites can safely be done with sulphur formulations, Dicofol, Fenazaquin, Propargite and guarded use of Ethion.
Helopeltis can be effectively controlled by Thiamethoxam, Thiacloprid and Deltamethrin. Similarly caterpillar pests can be controlled by Bifenthrin, Deltamethrin, Fenpropathrin and Lambda cyhalothrin. Common diseases of tea can be controlled by copper compounds without any residue problem in made tea. For controlling weeds, Glyphosate is quite safe at the MRL of 2 mg a kg.
Information on terminal pesticide residues should be circulated and there is need of educating the small tea growers also so that they use safe agrochemicals as per international norms, Bordoloi said.