1. Agriculture World

Latest News: Group of Experts to Review Proposal to Ban 27 Pesticides

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Dr T.P Rajendran
Dr T.P Rajendran

An advisory panel has been named by the government to study the reactions of the industry to the controversial ban on 27 commonly used pesticides that authorities believe are toxic to animals and humans.

'The committee, headed by Chairman TP Rajendran, former Assistant CEO of ICAR, is scheduled to submit its report within three months. His study will determine the fate of the 27 pesticides that the government wants to prohibit,' a senior official in the Ministry of Agriculture said, who did not want to be named.

These are part of the 66 pesticides in question that are being tested for their toxicity. In 2018, 18 of them were already banned by the government.

The government said in May 2020 that it will prohibit these pesticides. Initially, the government gave 45 days to industry and pesticide firms to respond to the proposal. The deadline was eventually extended to 90 days from the date of notification following the intervention of Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. But even after 90 days, the matter remained pending and now a decision is expected to be made after the review of the expert group.

The government's plan to ban pesticides in the industry has created a flutter. The industry lobbied hard to postpone the ban, resulting in an extension, the official said. The government is seeking information and analysis from businesses developing these pesticides that can verify that these substances are healthy. These will now be scientifically checked by the panel.

Industry and companies are said to have vigorously defended 23 of these 27 pesticides, which are commonly used and some of which have recently been used to destroy locusts, by submitting scientific evidence.

'If four pesticides, dinocap, methomyl, dicofol and butachlor, are banned, we have no objection although we strongly support the use of the remaining 23 pesticides,' said Harish Mehta, senior consultant at India's Crop Care Federation.

The 27 pesticides, he added, consist of 12 insecticides, 8 fungicides, and 7 herbicides, including 130 formulations.

'These pesticides are all highly effective. We export pesticides worth Rs 23,000 crore to many countries, including the US, and 40 percent of them are these 27 pesticides. We don't believe it's dangerous enough to be banned,' Mehta said.

The producers of pesticides also fear that the ban could hand over a ready export market to Chinese companies that compete directly in this region with Indian companies.

In addition, the ban would impose an additional financial pressure on farmers as the cost of these controversial pesticides ranges from Rs 275-450 per litre to the cost of their imported replacements at Rs 1500-2000 per litre.

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