Punjab and Bihar lead in the per hectare consumption of fertilisers, while Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are the major consumers of chemical pesticides. In fact, Maharashtra, along with West Bengal, also leads in the consumption of bio-pesticides.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, said that the use of fertilisers and pesticide depends on several factors such as the area under cultivation, type of crop, cropping intensity, agro-climatic conditions, soil condition, weed, pests, disease situation, etc.
Apart from Punjab and Bihar, consumption of fertilisers remained above 200 kg/ha in Puducherry, Haryana and Telangana in the five-year period from 2015-16. Puducherry’s fertiliser consumption stood at 405.99 kg/ha in 2015-16.
The all-India average of fertiliser consumption stood at 133.44 kg/ha in 2019-20 against 135.76 kg/ha in 2015-16.
Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are the major consumers of chemical pesticides in the country over the last five years. The consumption increased to 12,783 tonnes in Maharashtra during 2019-20 against 11,665 tonnes in 2015-16. The consumption figures stood at 12,217 tonnes (10,457 tonnes) in Uttar Pradesh during the period. The lowest usage of pesticide was in Goa with 30 tonnes (48 tonnes).
The data provided in the reply showed the north-eastern states of Meghalaya and Sikkim as ‘Organic States’.
The all-India consumption of chemical pesticides stood at 61,702 tonnes in 2019-20 against 56,720 tonnes in 2015-16.
Maharashtra was even the major consumer of bio-pesticides during the last five years. The consumption, which had reached a maximum of 1,454 tonnes in 2016-17, came down to 1,082 tonnes in 2019-20. West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Chhattisgarh were the other major consumers of bio-pesticides during the period. Interestingly, the consumption pattern showed a huge jump in Rajasthan in 2019-20. The annual consumption, which was below 15 tonnes for the period between 2015-16 and 2018-19, increased to 929 tonnes in 2019-20.
The all-India consumption of bio-pesticides stood at 8,847 tonnes in 2019-20 against 6148 tonnes in 2015-16.
Replying to a query on whether the excessive use of fertiliser and pesticide in certain areas is leading to diseases such as cancer among farmers and consumers, the reply mentioned that pesticides are toxic substances but may not pose any adverse effect on human beings, animals and the environment if they are used as per the label and leaflet approved by the Registration Committee.
However, the Government has been making concerted efforts through various programmes to encourage farmers for judicious use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, it said.
In a separate query if the Government is aware that the Glyphosate pesticide has many adverse effects on flora and fauna in agricultural land, the Minister said that studies had reported impact on soil-dwelling earthworms and on some of the soil microflora, slight reduction in biomass of earth worm and glyphosate concentration on tea leaves below the maximum residue level permitted.
Replying to this, the Minister said at the time of registration of Glyphosate in the country, the Registration Committee as per provisions of the Insecticide Act 1968, did a complete evaluation of Glyphosate on parameters, data and studies with respect to chemistry, bio-efficacy, toxicity, packaging and processing and only after satisfying itself with the safety and efficacy aspect, Glyphosate was registered for use in tea plantation and non-cropped area only.
On the actions taken by the Government on the request of Kerala government to ban the use of Glyphosate in the country, he said Kerala prohibited the sale, distribution and use of Glyphosate and its derivatives for 60 days throughout the state during February 2019, and it further requested to the Central government and recommended to prohibit the sale, distribution and use of Glyphosate and its derivatives throughout Kerala.
He said the matter was examined by the subcommittee constituted by Registration Committee and as per recommendation of the sub-committee and consultation with Registration Committee. A draft notification seeking objections and suggestions was published in July 2020 for restriction on use of Glyphosate and to be allowed through pest control operators. Objections and suggestions have been received on draft notification and the same are being examined by the Registration Committee, he said.
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