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Syngenta's bid to help Yavatmal's ill fated farmers

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

Lately there has been a large number of farmer deaths due to the ill usage of pesticides. Under criticism from various sources, the pesticide companies are now coming up with various responses to deal with the havoc created by the pesticide poisoning deaths and hospitalisations of farmers in Yavatmal district. Syngents, one of the major global companies in pesticides business has launched doctors’ training as well as mobile health clinic in Yavatmal district.

Syngenta team is conducting stewardship programmes, doctor training programmes, and mobile health clinic facility in Yavatmal and adjoining villages. It plans to cover over 25,000 farmer families through mobile health clinics in next several months. Besides, it is supporting the State Government’s safety initiative by distributing 10,000 personal protective equipment kits for spray-men in collaboration with the local Panchayat bodies. It has provided 500 kits and plans to distribute 500 more after Diwali, and remaining 9,000 by the end of October.

According to the company, popular pesticide brand ‘Polo’ is not responsible for anything that has happened in Yavatmal.  ‘Polo’ has been used on an average on 6 lakh hectares every year on various crops including cotton, ‘without any instance of causalties’. “This reflects that there may have been other reasons which may have led to these unfortunate incidents,” adds a press release issued by the company.

In a telephonic conversation with Mr. Alve, agricultural officer of Yavatmal told Krishi Jagran that the conditions are under watch now and the technicals of the pesticides are banned and are under scrutiny. The technicals are Profenophos 40% + Cypermethrin 4% , Fipronil 40% + Imida 40% , Monocrotophas 36% + Acephate 15% which has been banned on orders.

Expressing ‘deep concern’ over the tragic loss of farmers’ lives and the incidences of hospitalisation of farm workers caused by pesticides exposure in the region, Syngenta has stated that it conducted two doctor training programmes for Taluka Medical Officers in Yavatmal. Dr V V Pillay, Head, Toxicology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, conducted the programme. The training was conducted at Pandharkawda and Wani tehsils. In all, 18 doctors from the Government and private hospitals attended the programme at Pandharkawda whereas 19 attended the programme in Wani. Sub-Divisional Officer, Tehsildar, Deputy Tehsildar, and District Health officials also underwent the training.

The programme focused on imparting training to doctors on principles of recognition and treatment of pesticide poisoning, general principles on stabilisation of a poisoned patient and dealing with basic treatment of other poisoning cases.

The company has collaborated with Wockhardt Foundation to run a mobile health van in the region to undertake regular check-ups and awareness programmes. The van will have an MBBS doctor, a pharmacist, community mobiliser, and a driver, and shall be operational in and around Yavatmal district for a year. The mobile health clinics will cover more than 25,000 farm workers and their families in one year, stated Dr K C Ravi, Vice-President, Commercial Acceptance & Public Policy, Syngenta South Asia.

Cotton, which is the major crop of the district has received the broadcasting of the spray. Inhaling which has affected the lives of the farmers hugely. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis  announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of farmers and laborers who died due to pesticide inhalation while spraying on crops in Yavatmal district over the last few weeks. An inquiry has also been ordered into the matter under the assistant chief secretary (home). The CM also announced that the government will run an awareness campaign on safe use of pesticides, and distribute free masks.

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