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May. 2, 2019

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May. 2, 2019

Pesticides to have barcode in Punjab, India

Coming to the aid of farmers in Punjab, which will ultimately benefit crops and end-consumers, agrochemicals manufacturers are gearing up to keep a check on spurious pesticides. The industry is planning to introduce barcode on every product sold in the state which will give product information and its origin.

The move will help the state authorities to monitor the quality of pesticides, their use, transportation and storage in a better way.

The annual sale of pesticides in Punjab is around Rs 1,500 crore and it is among the top five markets for agrochemical companies in India.

In the recent past, Punjab has witnessed sale of spurious insecticides and pesticides. The state government had also banned their sale manufactured by a company at Dera Bassi in Mohali and seized many spurious, unauthorised and expired products worth crores of rupees. This move would check the sale of spurious insecticides and pesticides in the state.

Around 350 companies are engaged in the manufacturing of agrochemicals and cater to the domestic market which is pegged at around Rs 16,000 crore annually.

“The incidence of spurious agrochemicals is not as high as reported, which says it is 25-30%, but it’s still there. Taking cognisance, the industry is acting responsibly and planning to introduce barcode on every product which will help the state government officials to get information about the product and its origin,” agrochemical manufacturer UPL Limited’s chief operating officer Sagar Kaushik said.

Earlier, Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission chairperson Ajay Vir Jakhar had also advocated that the Centre should make it mandatory for all agriculture input packaging to have a barcode giving product information.

He said the barcode will sync with the GST and the e-way bill. This will help in tracking the sale of agrochemicals and checking their indiscreet usage. He said the states should make retailers log all agriculture input sales onto state government servers so as to trace the sale from factory to fields and for regulation enforcement.

The Punjab State Farmers’ Commission has come up with a plan under which dealers selling seeds, fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides will be required to provide the purchaser’s (farmer’s) name and mobile number, input purchased, quantity, price etc. on a Central server created by the state government.

The proposed database will help companies and research institutions in providing extension services to farmers. The database is also expected to help in awarding compensation to farmers in case the sale of spurious seeds, fertilisers or pesticides is detected.

He said in the past 10 years, there has been no conviction in case of spurious seeds, eight in spurious fertilisers and 17 in case of spurious pesticides. He had earlier said there is a need to check the sale of substandard agricultural inputs and for that the state needs to examine the possibility of enacting legislation.

Source: TRIBUNE

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