AINP on Vertebrate Pest Management
It is expected that demand for food would reach 380 MT by 2025 against the current production of about 250 MT. The major challenge therefore is to increase the food as well as nutritional security of the country. Besides many natural and abiotic constraints, crop production suffers almost 10-15 % pre harvest losses because of many pests and diseases. Vertebrate pests have significant impact in causing losses of food commodities including horticultural commodities. Rodents alone cause over 15% losses to our food basket at pre- harvest (standing crops) as well as post-harvest stages (during processing, storage, transport etc). They also contaminate food/fodder/feed and are responsible for several communicable diseases. Similarly many depredatory birds are responsible for significant crop damage. ICAR has been addressing the issues related with management of rodents and birds through AICRP/ AINPs on Rodent Control and Agricultural Ornithology. The recent expansion of farm lands to fringing forest areas and lack of food source in natural habitats have altered a number of wild animals such as blue bull, wild boars and monkeys etc into farm lands. While these have statutory protection under wild life act, enormous damage to crops has called for undertaking research to develop suitable strategies to ward off these crop raiding animals from crop fields. Except for some scattered reports on their ecology and habitat analysis no systematic efforts have been made so far from their management point. It is proposed to initiate R&D activities on management of such higher mammals in agricultural landscape across the country. In view of above during XII Plan ICAR has merged the exiting vertebrate AINPs viz., Rodents Control and Agricultural Ornithology with the new initiative on Higher Vertebrates (viz., Nilgai, wild boar and monke) so as to carry out R&D activities on management of these pest in agricultural landscape across the country under the umbrella of AINP on Vertebrate Pest Management (AINP-VPM).