Neem as Botanical Pesticide

Neem has come up with a proven track record of controlling various insect pests and being used since centuries in organic farming. Unlike chemical pesticides which act on specific pests, Neem helps in managing all pests and has no toxicity; it doesn’t leave any residue on plants or soil. There is a strong need of production and promotion of Neem-based pesticides as environment-friendly, biodegradable alternatives to chemical pesticides. Recently, there has been a growing interest from the international agro-chemical business over the potential of Neem as a Botanical alternative to chemical pesticides. Global demand for Botanical pesticide is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.6%. With growing awareness about benefits of Neem as a Botanical pesticide, it is estimated to reach Rs 100 crore (US$ 15,625,000). Neem-based pesticide markets in India is growing by 7-9 per cent annually, says a report by Export Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank).

Azadirachtin present in Neem seeds has natural insecticidal properties is the main active phytochemicals in Neem based pesticides. It is potentially a substitute for synthetic pesticides used in crop production. To meet the increasing demand good quantity of Neem seeds are required. There is also need of high yielding Neem trees, so Neem seeds can be made available round the year to meet the demand. Such high yielding Neem trees should be identified and propagated. We need to develop fast growing, early maturing and high yielding Neem trees by Tissue Culture technique.