Different Types of Pesticides Used in India: Importance and Benefits

11 Aug 2023
Different Types of Pesticides Used in India: Importance and Benefits Article
Producing quality food crop and green fodder from limited land resource is essential for growing human and livestock population of India. In this scenario, pesticides play an important role in minimising the loss of food crops and green fodder due to pest and disease attack. Different types of pesticides used in India includes insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, among others.

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Pests, diseases, and weeds pose significant threats to crop production, with thousands of insect species wreaking havoc on crops. This makes it imperative to take immediate action. Fortunately, a wide range of pesticides is available to control and eliminate pests, safeguarding crops from damage.

Using pesticides is not just an option, it is an absolute necessity. Failure to utilize pesticides can result in substantial financial losses, wasted efforts, and time. Additionally, increased crop wastage directly impacts food sufficiency. Therefore, the use of pesticides becomes crucial for ensuring an adequate food supply.

What are Pesticides?

Pesticides are chemical substances or mixtures used to control or eliminate pests that can harm crops, livestock, humans, or the environment. They are commonly used in agriculture to protect crops from pests, diseases, and weeds, but they are also employed in other settings such as homes, public spaces, and industrial sites.

How Pesticides Work?

Pesticides can target different types of pests, including insects, fungi, weeds, rodents, and microorganisms. They work by interfering with the physiology, behaviour, or reproduction of the pests, ultimately leading to their control or elimination.

Pesticides can be applied directly to the target pest (contact pesticides) or introduced into the environment to reach the pest indirectly (systemic pesticides).

They can be applied in the form of spray, aerosols, dusts, mists, etc by using implements like boom sprayer, mist blower, and self-propelled boom sprayer.

Different Types of Pesticides Used in India

Pesticides can be classified into several categories based on their chemical composition, mode of action, target pests, and application methods. Here are the main classifications of pesticides:


Type of Pesticides- Insecticides 

Insecticides are pesticides specifically designed to combat insect pests that cause extensive damage to crop. They are classified into four major groups: organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, and neonicotinoids.

Organophosphates and Carbamates act on the nervous system of insects, disrupting their ability to function properly.

Pyrethroids, derived from natural pyrethrins found in chrysanthemum flowers, are effective against a broad range of insects.

Neonicotinoids are systemic insecticides that are absorbed by plants, making them toxic to pests that feed on them.


Type of Pesticides- Fungicides

Fungicides are pesticides used to control fungal diseases that can severely impact crop quality and yield. They work by inhibiting or killing the fungi that cause diseases such as powdery mildew, rust, and blight.

Different types of fungicides include contact fungicides, systemic fungicides, and translaminar fungicides.

Contact fungicides remain on the surface of plants, providing protection against fungal spores.

Systemic fungicides are absorbed by plants and transported throughout their tissues, offering long-lasting protection.

Translaminar fungicides move within the leaf, protecting both the upper and lower surfaces.


Type of Pesticides- Herbicides

Herbicides are pesticides designed to control unwanted vegetation or weeds that compete with crops for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients.

They can be classified into selective herbicides, which target specific types of plants, and non-selective herbicides, which kill or inhibit the growth of all plant species. Herbicides work by disrupting essential processes within plants, leading to their death.

The proper use of herbicides helps farmers reduce weed pressure, allowing crops to thrive without facing excessive competition.


Type of Pesticides- Rodenticides

Rodenticides are pesticides formulated to control rodent populations that can cause significant damage to stored grains, infrastructure, and human health. They are used to manage rat and mouse populations in agricultural fields, warehouses, and residential areas.

Rodenticides are classified into two main types: acute rodenticides, which cause rapid death, and chronic rodenticides, which lead to delayed mortality.

Importance of Pesticides in Indian Agriculture

  • Increased crop productivity: They protect crops from pests, diseases, and weeds, allowing farmers to achieve higher yields and meet the growing food demand of India's population.
  • Crop quality improvement: They help maintain crop quality by reducing damage caused by pests and diseases, ensuring that consumers have access to safe and high-quality produce.
  • Reduced post-harvest losses: They play a crucial role in preventing postharvest losses by protecting stored grains and crops from infestations by pests and rodents.
  • Enhanced food security: By preventing significant yield losses, they ensure a stable and sufficient food supply for the population.
  • Improved farmer livelihoods: By protecting crops from pests and diseases, pesticides enable farmers to maximize their yields and incomes enabling improvement in livelihoods.
  • Efficient resource management: By controlling weeds, pests, and diseases, they reduce the competition for resources like water, fertiliser, and labour, thus allowing crops to utilize them optimally.
  • Cost-effective solution: They are often more affordable and easier to apply than other control measures, making them accessible to farmers with limited resources.
  • Technological advancements and innovation: Research and development in pesticide formulations and application methods have resulted in safer and more effective products, benefiting farmers and the environment.

Harmful Effects of Pesticides

Pesticides, while serving the purpose of controlling pests and protecting crops, can also have harmful effects on the environment, human health, and biodiversity.

  • Pesticides can contaminate soil, water bodies, and air, leading to environmental pollution.
  • Runoff from agricultural fields can carry pesticides into nearby water sources, resulting in water pollution that can harm aquatic ecosystems.
  • They do not selectively target only pests but can also harm beneficial non-target organisms like insects, birds, bees, and other pollinators.
  • They can kill beneficial soil microorganisms, earthworms, and other soil-dwelling organisms, disrupting soil ecosystems and reducing soil fertility.
  • The repeated and intensive use of the same pesticide can accelerate the development of resistance in pest populations.
  • Exposure to high concentrations of pesticides can cause acute health effects such as skin irritations, respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness, and chronic health issues.
  • Improper use or excessive application of pesticides can result in pesticide residues on food crops posing risks to consumers' health.


Pesticides are essential tools in Indian agriculture as they help protect crops from pests, diseases, and weeds. They play a vital role in enhancing crop productivity, improving crop quality, reducing post-harvest losses, and ensuring food security. When used responsibly and following recommended guidelines, pesticides provide numerous benefits to the farmers.

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