Agriculture Research Station presently known as Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute, Durgapura is the premier research center of Sri Karan Narendra Agriculture University, Jobner since its inception in 1943; it has come a long way, overcoming an era of national food deficit to that of self-sufficiency with a surplus food grain reserve. The valuable contributions made by the scientists have helped the nation in maintaining the balance between its population growth and agricultural production. In order to increase productivity, improve quality and profitability not withstanding the population pressures, rigorous efforts are still on the way at this center to achieve these goals. This station is situated at 450 meters above mean sea level on latitude 26.500 and longitude 75.470. It is a constituent research institute under S.K.N. Agriculture University, Jobner. The Director (RARI) is the Incharge of the Research Institute. The RARI is developed over 90 hectares of land. The Ph.D. Classes have also been started since 2013 to provide the quality education with better research facilities to the Ph.D. scholars.
Enormous increase in agricultural productivity can be associated with the use of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals. The success of green and grey revolution in plants, yellow revolution in oil seed crops, white and blue revolution in animals was greatly facilitated by pesticides. The pesticides used for crop protection or public health purposes have to be safe guarded against their environmental impacts, which at times may pose serious health and environmental consequences. The fate of pesticides applied in agricultural ecosystem is governed by the transfer and degradation processes and their interaction. Pesticide residue by World health Organization (WHO) as, “Any substance or mixture of substances in food for man and animals resulting from the use of a pesticide and includes any specified derivatives, such as degradation and conversion products, metabolites, reaction products and impurities that are considered to be of toxicological significance” the use of pesticides in food production inevitably leaves residues and hence strict monitoring and vigilance need to be maintained to ensure consumer safety. Chemically intensive production will continue to generate concerns about the consequences of long term low doses of multiple pesticide residues.
India is the largest producer of milk and second largest produce of rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables in the world. Having signed the GATT agreement and being a member nation of WTO, India has new opportunities to enhance exports. This has put forth many challenges to Indian farmers to produce the quality produce acceptable to improving country. During the recent years some agricultural commodities exported from India were rejected by European countries not only due to presence of physical and microbial contaminators but also due to the presence of pesticide residues. In this context monitoring of pesticide residue in agricultural produce has assumed greatest importance. Moreover, pesticide residues are equally important from the point of view of consumer's health and from the point of view of environment as a whole.
Pesticides in general are chemicals used to destroy or control weeds, insects, fungi and other pests. Some of these pesticides may remain on food as residues when pesticides are not applied as per the good agricultural practices (GAP), these pesticide residue can pose significant health risk to consumers. Pesticide residue analysis may be defined as qualitative, quantitative, confirmation analysis of samples drawn from agricultural fields market and environment for pesticides and their toxic metabolites.
It is proven fact that chemicals are potentially dangerous and leave behind residues. Chronic exposures to low levels of pesticides are known to cause low immunity to diseases, low learning capacity and host of other ailments. A recent report even indicts it for disturbances in sex ratio as well. Pesticide residues have created a threat to human life, biotic and abiotic factors of environment. However hazards or risk to human health and ecosystem can be reduced to a large extent if these residues could be kept below their prescribed Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). The Maximum Residue Limit is the maximum concentration for a pesticide on a crop or food commodity resulting from the use of pesticide according to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which is expressed in mg kg-1. Inspite of very low consumption of pesticides per unit area in India. 0.5 kg ha-1 as against 6-17 kg ha-1 in developed countries, pesticide residues in food stuffs and feed are mainly noticed due to indiscriminate use of pesticides. The recent ICMR and ICAR (Pesticide Residue Project) reports showed that 8-10 per cent or 12 per cent of food commodities in India was with detectable levels of pesticides of which 2-3 per cent had levels exceeding MRL.
Keeping in view the growing concern both at national and international scenes, concerted effort have been made by government of India through Indian council of agricultural research for safer and judicious use of pesticides.
After the detection of pesticide residues in soft drink and package drinking water during 2004 a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) was constituted and it was observed by JPC that no systematic study have been conducted in India at national level to evaluate the status of pesticide residue in food commodities, keeping in view of the JPC observation, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture initiated the Central Sector Scheme, Monitoring of Pesticide Residue at National Level (MPRNL) during 2005-06. On the basis of these monitoring studies necessary replies are being provided time to time for the parliament question and RTIs.
To overcome the problem of widespread contamination of food commodities, water, soil and biological samples in India with residues of pesticides, ICAR initiated AINP on Pesticide Residue during 1984-85. There are fifteen research projects on pesticides residues throughout India. In Rajasthan the work on Pesticide Residue was started at Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute, Durgapura, Jaipur.
The funding of the project is through the ICAR, New Delhi and the Govt. of Rajasthan on 75:25 bases. The main objective of the AINP on Pesticide Residue is to develop protocols for safe use of pesticides by following recommended package and practices. Another objective of the project is to fix the MRLs and safe waiting periods/pre harvest intervals. This information has been disseminated to the extension personals and farmers for the judicious use of pesticide on crops.
This laboratory got accreditation by NABL under ISO/IEC 17025:2005 valid until 22.02.2019 for performing pesticide residue analysis in different food commodities in conformity with international standards. NABL is the autonomous body of the Govt. of India to grant accreditation to testing and calibration laboratories by assessing their technical competence, managerial organization, laboratory environment and quality system.
Accreditation was granted to achieve customer satisfaction by doing all activities “right first time and every time” with this, the laboratory can issue test result with NABL logo, which is authentic, reliable and performed as per international standard guidelines. The laboratory has been scrutinized at different stages to assess its managerial and technical competence and functioning under a transparent and traceable system which can be audited by the responsible higher-ups in the managerial and technical review committee authorized the purpose.