June 6, 2020 11:38:58 pm
In a surprising move, the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has opposed the move by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare to ban 27 commonly used pesticides. R K Chaturvedi, secretary, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has dashed off a letter to the Agriculture ministry, opposing the proposed ban and stating that the move would not be appropriate at this moment.
In May, the Agriculture ministry had published a gazette notification, inviting suggestions and objections for its plan to ban 27 generic pesticides. The ministry felt it was necessary in the view of hazards posed by chemicals used in pesticides. The proposed ban has not gone down well with farmers, who have been using those chemicals due to both their efficacy as well as low prices.
Referring to representations received from the association of the pesticide industry, the secretary said generic pesticides constituted 40 per cent of the Indian pesticide market and their ban would affect the industry adversely. As these pesticides are exported to countries like USA and China, their ban would affect Indian exports also.
Chaturvedi’s letter has taken objection to the ministry’s draft order, which has cited lack of proper bio-safety data as one of the reasons for the ban. This, the letter stated, was not right as Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) registers pesticides only after accessing bio efficacy, residue and other data. Once approved, pesticide manufacturers are supposed to adhere to various norms set by the CIBRC.
The present draft has cited banning of these chemicals by a few countries, which, the letter stated, might not be enough ground to ban the same in India. Banning a chemical should be done using risk-based approach and not hazard approach, which considers exposure for accessing risk to human and animal health and environment due to specific use of the chemical, the letter stated.
All the proposed chemicals are generic and affordable as compared to their alternatives, the letter stated. Most of the alternatives are not registered in India and Chaturvedi said at least three years will be required to register them in the country.
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