Indigenous Technical Knowledge in Plant Diseases and Pest Control

The Eco-friendly methods for pest  and disease control is already gaining importance in several countries including India. The Government is also promoting the management based on the use of plants extracts in that regard for various crops. If an effort is made towards production of Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) based products on cottage scale, it can be an economically viable option for sustainable control of pest and diseases. 

Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) is the unique traditional local knowledge existing within and developed in a particular geographic area.

Plant disease control through ITK

Traditional system of disease control  that farmers have learnt from their long association with the land, its flora and fauna were based on eco-friendly systems of suitable cultural practices

  • For, bunchy top disease in chilies, dusting of ash or spray of liquid waste of tanned Leather were followed  in tribal areas.
  • Some farmers used to apply fresh cow dung near the collar region of chilli plant to control fungal disease, viz., damping off and dieback.
  • In case of soil-borne disease such as root rot and collar rot – castor cake, karanj cake and neem cake were used as control measures.
  • Prepare solution from 2 kg fresh leaves of papaya in 3-4 liters of water and keep in overnight. After filtration, this is diluted with 50-60 liters of water and 250ml soap solution added to it, is effective to control brown spot disease of rice.
  • Cultivation of marigold followed by solanaceous vegetable crops is effective to control bacterial diseases.
  • Leaves of khair (Acacia catechu) can be put into water channel to control brown spot disease of rice.

Insect-pest control through ITK

  • Sprinkling of ash over and around the vegetable crops like onion, okra, brinjal, tomato and cucumber and in fields is effective against insect pests like beetles and  leaf defoliating insects, leaf miners, thrips and aphids.
  • 4 kg tobacco leaves and twigs are boiled in 40 liters of water for 40 min. After cooling, 1kg soap powder is mixed and solution is diluted 7-8 times and sprayed to control aphids and whiteflies in citrus plants.
  • Rice seedlings raised from seed treated with extract of neem kernel are resistant to leaf hopper.
  • For prevention of infestation of shoot borer in mango tree, common salt is mixed with soil near the collar region of tree.
  • 1 liter extract of equal quantity of crushed green chilies and garlic mixed with 200 liters of water is effective to control aphids and jassids.
  • Filtrate prepared from a solution of 1 kg Calotropis leaves and 5 liters of water is effective to control leaf sucking pests.
  • Extract of tobacco waste with 250g of soap solution in 200 liters of water is sprayed to control stem borer.
  • A solution prepared from neem leaf paste in water (10 kg : 2 liter) is effective to control leaf folder in rice.

Control of stored grain pests

  • In Rajasthan, garlic leaves are used for safe storage of food grains.
  • Leaves of Vitex negundo (Nirgundi) are incorporated in any pulse seeds for long time preservation
  • There is a common practice of storing food grains like wheat and rice with neem leaves to prevent storage pest damage.
  • Milled chickpea, green gram and other pulses are stored after thoroughly treated with mustard oil.
  • Green gram can be kept free from any pest infestation by treating with 1% neem leaf Powder.

Indigenous technical knowledge provides valuable inputs to make efficient use of natural resources and extends relevant support for sustainable development. Indigenous techniques used in different component of farming system are mostly organic, eco-friendly, sustainable, viable and cost effective. But, there is a need to explore, verify, modify and scientifically validate these practices for their wider use and application.

Author, Papineni Venkata Nirosh is an agricultural graduate. Can be contacted at


Shubhendu Roy, Arun Rathod, Shimpy Sarkar and Kusal Ro . (2004). Use of ITK in Plant Protection. Popular Khet, BCKV, Nadia, West Bengal, 6-7.