1. Agriculture World

How Pesticides are Playing Really Important Role in Agriculture?

Sangeeta Soni
Sangeeta Soni

Looking at the Pesticides Industry of India, since the last 60 years, use of pesticides has greatly helped Indian farmers for agriculture and providing nutrition security to the country. According to the research reports, the Indian Pesticides market in 2019 stood at Rs 214 Billion and as per the inclination, could grow up to Rs 316 billion by the year 2024.

But, recently proposed ban on 27 pesticides can result in the loss of near to 25 percent to the pesticide industry in India, and can send the negative vibe at International level. Reason to ban 27 pesticides is the issue of sustainable environmental practice and food safety issues; and in place of those pesticides, deployment of safer and new green pesticides.

The thing to be noted is that, there are the least chances of any risk to the environment and the health, if pesticides are used as per label recommendations. The actual problem is that there is a need of investments in R&D department. In this field, there are very less efforts in Research field, due to the variety of reasons including lack of incentives in the field of innovation, less product diversification, less awareness about the use of pesticides and many more.

The contrary point is that, we are planning to make India a hub for pesticides for International market too. And the annual production losses due to pests and diseases in our country is estimated to be around Rs. 90,000 crores in the year 2002 as per the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. And at present market prices, these losses are around Rs. 5 lakh crore, in spite of the fact that we use around 60,000 tonnes pf pesticides. In fact, in compare to other countries, use of pesticides in India is one of the lowest (<0.5 kg/ha).

One more important challenge to mention is that, the use of registered pesticides mainly on 74 high volume crops, and susceptible on other crops because of lack of label claims. To protect farmers from substandard products, greater attention is needed for post-registration monitoring mechanisms to weed out ‘fly-by-night’ operators, thus ensuring production and use of high-quality pesticides only.

Ban on the use of 27 generic pesticides (including 8 fungicides,12 insecticides, and 7 herbicides) came with a surprise and caused a great concern among the farmers, scientists and the industry. Only 3 of these pesticides actually fall in the hazardous category.

The farming community is wanting the entire process to be established on the basis of scientific evidences, logics and in a proper phase by phase manner, and they are absolutely right in wanting this.

One more thing to mention is that, farmers are passing through the difficult period of COVID-19, and facing many problems related to agriculture, marketing and transportation of their goods. So, in this period, farmers need at least pesticides and other quality inputs for their farming. 

The recently announced Pesticides Management Bill (PMB2020) offers the policymakers and the industry an option to reform the existing scheme in accordance with the global developments and protect farmers’ interests and farming sector of the country.

National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) has suggested some corrections in PMB20. They also agreed that there is a need to review the existing policy for pesticides used in India. Also there is a true significance on promoting organic farming and IPM approach as these are considered better options.

All these will also need support from the government institutions and agriculture universities.

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