Highlighting that the policy to allow the import of readymade formulations without registering the technical grade pesticides will rob Indian farmers' of income and scuttle the dreams of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat', the Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) has urged the Ministry of Agriculture to repeal the related provisions of the Insecticides Act, 1968 and the Insecticides Rules, 1971 that bleed India of more than Rs 3,000 crores every year.
"The technical grade pesticide is the main component of agrochemical and the one that carries any risk/hazard. Evaluation and registration of technical grade pesticide is key and should be the basis for granting registrations for imported formulations. This is followed by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and all over the world," said Pradip Dave, President, PMFAI.
"If the technical grade material of imported formulations are not registered in India, there is no way we can know the quality of the material used and whether it adheres to the registration guidelines. Not adhering to these guidelines, especially in terms of the impurities in technical that decides the quality of the formulation, can cause crop failures, residue problems in agricultural produce, and health hazards to farmers. The Indian government too must roll back the discriminatory provisions," he added.
PMFAI, an industry body comprising more than 200 small, medium, and large-scale Indian pesticide manufacturers, formulators, and traders, has also highlighted that the lack of investment in domestic manufacturers caused by the policy introduced in 2007 by the then UPA government to favour importers can hurt India's pursuit for self-reliance as it turns the country into a dumping ground for multinational companies and importers.
"The policy continues to allow importers and multinational companies to import ready-to-use pesticide formulations from various countries, saying it will help introduce new pesticides molecules in India and benefit the farmers. Instead, what we see is 25- to 50-years-old molecules are imported without registering the technicals. This has an adverse impact on the Indian agrochemical industry. The policy gives importers an undue advantage who, instead of manufacturing in India, now prefer to import readymade pesticide formulations under the policy; this costs India more than Rs 3,000 crore," Dave said.
The lack of availability of technicals has affected the MSMEs, who are mainly formulation manufacturers. This has led to monopoly by imports of readymade formulations by a handful of companies which will only harm the interest of farmers and indigenous manufacturers -- in fact, farmers are compelled to pay higher prices for imported molecules which are sold to them at 100 per cent to 200 per cent profit, the association has highlighted.