“Empowering Farmers is Important.”, an article published in The Economic Times, suggested strengthening Data Protection Law for agrichemicals and pesticides.
Pradip Dave, president of the Pesticide Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI), wrote a letter to the editor as a response, offering the organization’s views on the issue. The letter from PMFAI on “Data Protection” is below:
August 12, 2019
The Economic Times
Ref: Article on “Empowering Farmers is Important,” The Economic Times, Mumbai edition of 9th August 2019
We read with interest the news item which appeared in The Economic Times on 9th August 2019 with the title “Empowering Farmers is Important,” which highlights on the importance of sustainable farming for empowering farmers.
As highlighted, adopting technologies and high-tech farming is the requirement of the hour to increase farm productivity, which can not only make the country self-sufficient in agricultural production but also can increase agri produce exports. Fly-by-night operators of substandard and spurious agri inputs is the serious threat to Indian agriculture and farming community, which needs to be contained. Educating and increasing of awareness of farmers on safe and judicious use of pesticides, and in identifying genuine pesticides are key points.
However, we very strongly oppose the point on “Data Protection” for agrochemicals, which is raked up again and again by a section who ultimately support MNCs agenda for additional protection/market exclusivity by way of “Data Protection” beyond patent protection period of 20 years. Data Protection over patent period will be to the disadvantage of Indian industries and will go against the vision of “MAKE IN INDIA” and growth of Indian industries, as Data Protection will effectively extend period of monopoly and will also delay generic entries, avoiding competition in market place.
There is clear cut decision by Parliamentary Committee that no data protection be given beyond patent period, still the issue of Data Protection for agrichemicals is raked up by interested section of people. After India becoming signatory to patent protection regime which has become operational from the year 2005, the inventor/industry gets 20 years protection under patents. In such a situation granting further Data Protection will affect Indian industry as also farmers of the country as generic entry will be delayed and there will be no competition in market. If Data Protection is given further, it is like ever-greening of patents.
From the year 2007, during last 12 years considerable deliberations took place on the issue of Data Protection for agrichemicals (crop protection products). Conclusion of the said deliberations has resulted in exclusion of provision of Data Protection from draft of “Pesticides Management Bill 2017”.
We therefore, give below in brief the reasons why Data Protection should not be considered:
Provisions for Data Exclusivity/Data Protection if provided, will effectively be extending the monopoly of MNCs for a further period, who already enjoys 20 years patent protection under WTO provisions which has become operational from the year 2005. If Data Protection is given further, it is like ever-greening of patents.
Data Exclusivity in agrichemicals sector will not only delay entry of generics by creating additional period of legal monopoly but will also make agrichemicals/pesticides unaffordable to Indian farmers.
Data Protection or Data Exclusivity will obstruct growth of indigenous manufacturers and will work against the vision of “Make in India”.
We therefore, request you to kindly publish our above observations in your esteemed newspaper to inform the citizen of the actual position on the status of “Data Protection” issue.
For Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India