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Pesticides makers threatens to move to court over ban on 27 productsqrcode

−− They claim the govt acted at the behest of foreign NGOs in imposing the ban

Jun. 11, 2020

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Jun. 11, 2020

Pesticides manufacturers in India have threatened to drag the central government to court due to abrupt ban on production, distribution and sale of 27 pesticides that are used on cotton, grapes and other crops.

The Centre issued a draft gazette notification on May 20 proposing a ban on 27 pesticides that are actively used across all agricultural commodities in India and abroad.

“The government of India acted at the behest of some foreign funded non-government organisations (NGOs) with vested interest. The move not only challenges the Make in India initiative and export of these pesticides, but also India’s food security at large. The ban would certainly create a readymade market for China, the largest exporter of these pesticides. Hence, we are working on a legal recourse to this ban,” said Pradip Dave, President, Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI).

PMFAI challenged the arbitrary review process of the Anupam Varma Committee (Formed in July 2013) Report and demanded an enquiry by a high-powered government-appointed scientific committee. The Varma committee was initially mandated to examine continuous use of three neon icotinoids, but within a month, in August 2013, the mandate of the Committee was expanded to review 66 generic insecticides that are banned, restricted or withdrawn in some other countries, but are used in India.

The Committee completed the review process of 66 pesticides without involving Indian generic industry and recommended ban of 18 generic pesticides that was accepted by the government. But, the government continued with use of 27 pesticides.

“The ban would prompt India to import these 27 generic pesticide formulations from overseas at their price range Rs 1,200 - 2,000 per litre as against the same available from domestic source at Rs 350 - 450 per litre. Thus, the increase in input cost would proportionately raise cost of agriculture produce also. Hence, farmers would be at receiving ends,” said Rajju Shroff, Chairman, UPL Ltd.

The ban will shrink India’s export capability by more than 50 per cent and hand over a market worth Rs 12,000 crore to Chinese competitors. Total global market size of generic agrochemical stands at around Rs 30,000 crore.

Samir Dave, Director, Amico Pesticides and President Agrocare, Belgium, believes that India must adhere to global practices under which the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has appreciated agricultural practices being adopted here which made India self reliant in many commodities.

“The government has not revealed the inputs provided by the committee for recommending the ban,” he added.

“These chemicals are in use since enactment of Pesticides Act in 1968. Why the government suddenly announced to ban them without having consultations from the industry. The government also formed a sub committee with its members having no scientific background. Thus, the government should not promote Chinese companies at the cost of Indian pesticides manuacturers,” said K N Singh, Vice President (Registration), Gharda Chemicals.

The pesticides under the ambit of the proposed ban produce more than 130 formulations used by the farmers for crop protection.

These pesticides account for 40 per cent of the domestic market and the alternative available to the farmers will be branded, readymade and expensive ones produced by the multinational companies (MNCs).

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