Sk. Shoaibur Rahaman
Controlling various diseases caused by insects using insecticides is nothing new to the farmers of this country.
However, researchers are trying to reduce the use of insecticides because they are not eco-friendly. In this context, a team of researchers of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU) has invented ‘Solar Insect Light Trap’. This device is designed by FABLAB SAU, implemented by Department of Horticulture, SAU, distributed by Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh and funded by Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT).
The wide use of these environmentally friendly devices is expected to significantly reduce the use of chemical insecticides in agriculture in the very near future. Under the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund under the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Professor Dr. Abul Hasnat M. Solaiman of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University has been conducting this research activity.
Studies have shown that the use of light traps has increased the yield by 5% to 50% and the use of chemical pesticides has been reduced by 25% to 100% in paddy, maize and vegetable farms as compared to non-light trap farms. Mango yield has also been increased by about 50%. In addition, the use of chemical sprays to control insects has decreased by about 20-30%. Researchers hope that it will be installed widely in farms as an insect management strategy.
According to the entomologists, the use of insecticides kills most of the beneficial insects during the day. The use of solar light traps can protect such beneficial insects on the one hand, and the number of harmful insects can be determined by observing samples of nocturnal insects on the other.
Entomologist of this project, Professor Dr. Mohammad Sakhawat Hossain said,’’ In the darkness of the night, the harmful insects are attracted by the UV light of the solar light trap and get trapped. In this way, the amount and samples of nocturnal harmful insects can be tested, as well as the number of harmful insects will be reduced.’’
About 500 Insect Solar Light Traps have been installed free of cost in the fields of different upazilas under the supervision of Upazila Agriculture Officers as per the advice of Entomologists. Project Teams have a plan to install 500 more in other areas too.
Solar Insect Light Trap is an automated device so that farmers can use it easily. Additionally, farmers are benefiting from the lower cost of crop production. ‘’It is being assisted by advising farmers on maintenance and use’’, the Department of Agricultural Extension said.
One of the users of this device, a farmer, said,’’ Thousands of insects have been trapped using the device. The fact that the government is giving it to us for free will save us money on buying poison (insecticides) and we will get more profit.
Moreover, there will be no harm to the environment. If the use of poison is reduced, the fish in the pond mixed with water will not die.’’
Prof. Dr. Solaiman, Director of the project is directly supervising the work of establishment of solar light trap technology in the farmers’ field. He said that in order to make agriculture more sustainable in future, more skills need to be acquired in eco-friendly crop production. In this case a solar light trap will pave the way.