Practical Manual for Diagnosis & Management of Deficiencies, Diseases & Insect pests

Vasanth as a Photographer
His Photography Skills Contributes to the creation of the Plant Doctor Book
Farmers' Friend
An Agriprenuer

In most of the developing countries, including India, the crop productivity and quality of produce are very low when compared to those in the developed countries. Almost all the reports attribute reasons like, weather vagaries, poor quality agri-inputs, low investment capacity, diversion of crop loans to unproductive operations, exploitation by the middlemen, volatile prices, etc., etc. for this low productivity and poor quality. Surprisingly there is another most important, but grossly ignored, reason i.e. lack of scientific and holistic knowledge about the crop cultivation.

It is a well-known fact that all crops suffer from various kinds of biotic and abiotic stresses from seed to harvest. Annually we lose, on an average, more than 35% of our crops due to such stresses despite the use of pesticides worth whopping US $ 32 billion, worldwide. In fact, it is much more than this at individual level and more so in countries like India and other developing countries. Hence, we are ending up in low productivity and poor quality leading to heavy economic loss. Just by managing these stresses we can easily achieve much higher yields from the same fields, same varieties of crops and same amount of resources with much lesser cost of production. The first and foremost important step in correcting these stresses is the proper diagnosis of the cause of the problem.    

Though the universities and research institutions, in both public and private sectors, have developed very effective technologies, high yielding varieties and pest management strategies, we have somehow failed in reaching those useful inputs to the needy farmers in an effective manner. It is sad to know that the extension system in the country is not adequate enough to cater to the large numbers of farmers of the country. The ground reality is that for a small and resource poor farmer the actual ‘Plant Doctor’ is the input dealer. Unfortunately, majority of these dealers also have no proper knowledge about the variety of problems that occur in various crops. Hence, most of the time it leads to wrong diagnosis and then to wrong treatment. The farmer, then, is likely to suffer loss in yield as well as having paid for the wrong treatment. Or they may end up applying a combination of variety of pesticides that unnecessarily add up to the cost of production, in addition to increased environmental pollution and pesticide residues in the food we consume. In this context the DAESI program by the central government is highly appreciable. Although the above training needs are being addressed by the designated agencies, the teaching aids, study materials and the training kits leave a lot to be desired. 

Despite the importance of this fact, there are not many useful books available where both practical diagnosis and management tips are given to aid the farmers, pesticide dealers, and extension functionaries to follow in an easy manner.

The present publication is an earnest attempt to augment these efforts by way of providing a pictorial, practical and user friendly manual with the following features.

  • Aimed to cater to the needs of all the key players listed above and the farmers (when translated to local languages) all by themselves.
  • Designed to serve the role of a ready reckoner for easy and accurate diagnosis of the pest and disease incidence.
  • Aiding in readily assessing the damage and identify appropriate management practices to be adopted.
  • The language is purposefully kept simple and less verbose and the manual can be translated into any language with great ease.
  • Symptoms of nutritional disorders, pest attacks and diseases are explained for easy comprehension supported by appropriate pictures.
  • Emphasis is on the photographs that explicitly communicate the symptoms in their natural colors leaving no scope for any ambiguity. It is said that a good picture is worth several hundred words.
  • Technical information on the pests and diseases causing organisms in respect of their morphology, epidemiology and transmission that are phrased appropriately to meet the requirements of the extension personnel, at the same time be of immense value to the teachers and students of crop protection.
  • Emphasis is given on the environment friendly management practices.
  • Exhaustive information on pesticides, their chemical form, brand names, manufacturer details and dosages for the use of the practitioners, input dealers and the extension workers.
  • The contents could serve as a source of information and pictures for the extension expert to develop advanced ICT tools to harness its powers for the benefit of the sector.
  • The book does not cover crop wise problems, rather it covers problem wise solutions irrespective the crop.
  • All kinds of deficiencies, diseases and insect problems that occur on all kinds of crops are covered with diagnosis and practical management tips.
  • Different kinds of treatment available, methods of treatment, preventive methods, curative methods, organic, biological and chemical manures, fertilizers, pesticides have been provided for the benefit of users to select the appropriate and locally available tools.
  • New concepts of disease management developed by the author are given for more efficient management of diseases. It is also given that the virus diseases can be effectively managed from the research work of the author.
  • The book consists of chapters on Soil, Manures and Fertilizers, Diagnosis and management of nutritional deficiencies, diseases caused by Viruses, Phytoplasmas, Bacteria, Oomycetes, fungi, nematodes and damage caused by insects and mites.
  • Ready reckoners on chemical insecticides, acaricides, nematicides and fungicides at the end are very handy for the selection of right pesticide, right dosage and appropriate methods.
  • Overall, it is a first of its kind book written exclusively to cater to the need of extension functionaries, input dealers, farmers and all who are interested in food production.
  • The book is the result of the author’s life time research, extensive field work, experience, (both in the field and the laboratory), commitment and dedication as a practitioner on the ground.


Practical Manual for Diagnosis & Management of Deficiencies, Diseases & Insect Pests