ZT WEB DESK
Srinagar: The union government, in a surprise move, has proposed to ban 27 pesticides, such as Captan and Mancozeb, which are widely used by the farmers across the country, including in Kashmir.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare issued a draft order on Monday banning these 27 pesticides and has given 45 days for the industry and companies manufacturing such chemicals to file their objections, if any.
The draft order – called Banning of Insecticides Order 2020 – prohibits import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of such insecticides.
The pesticides in the proposed list are: Acephate, Atrazine, Benfuracarb, Butachlor, Captan, Carbofuran, Chlorpyriphos, 2,4-D, Deltamethrin, Dicofol, Dimethoate, Dinocap, Diuron, Malathion, Mancozeb, Methomyl, Oxyfluorfen, Pendimethalin, Quinalphos and Sulfosulfuron.
Highly placed sources told Ziraat Times that this move is guided by the government’s desire to stem chemical imports from China, which constitute a major component for the manufacture of these chemicals.
Fruit growers and agri experts reached to by Ziraat Times on this matter expressed their surprise over the move, wondering how their farming activities could go ahead if the ban is eventually implemented.
The industry is also baffled by the government’s move and plans to oppose the ban order.
“We are going to oppose the order and submit the details of all the data, which has been generated by the industry,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director of Insecticides India Ltd.
“There is strong pressure in the international market that the generics have to go. India has a strong presence in the generics,” Aggarwal said.
The Indian pesticide industry is estimated at Rs 19,000 crore, while exports are pegged at Rs 21,000 crore. The list of chemicals account for about a fifth of the total industry, Aggarwal said.
Kashmir’s pesticide imports, local production and consumption are estimated to be in the range of Rs 1800 – Rs 2000 crore.
Industry sources said the timing of the notification is surprising as it has come at a time when the government is promoting ‘Make in India’ and has announced stimulus to make the country self-reliant.
On the other hand, several conservationists and health advocacy activists have expressed happiness over the move citing the adverse health impacts of these agro chemicals on human beings as well as other living organisms.
“Most of these agro chemicals are highly carcinogenic to human beings, while they also endanger innumerable living organisms found in the food chain. Several countries have already banned some of these chemicals”, said Sehar Shafi, a nature conservationist.
Whether the union government would ultimately proceed with implementing this ban remains to be seen.
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