Implementation of draft order on insecticide ban put off by 45 days

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The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has put off the implementation of its draft order on banning use of 27 different insecticides by 45 days.

Earlier, the Union Ministry had issued a gazette notification on May 14, announcing that its draft order to ban the above 27 insecticides would come into effect after 45 days. It had also called for objections and suggestions from the stakeholders with respect to its draft ban order within 45 days from the issue of the gazette notification.

However, following petitions by various experts and organisations, who had sought wider consultations and studies before effecting a ban, the Centre has granted additional time of 45 days to implement the order. Meanwhile, the time for receiving objections and suggestions too has been extended by 45 days.

Prominent among those who had petitioned the Centre against immediately banning the 27 insecticides was noted scientist from Karnataka P. Chowdappa who is also former director of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI).

Call for consultations

Dr. Chowdappa, who is also former president of Indian Phytopathological Society, Delhi, had said that the government should initiate wider consultations with all stakeholders concerned before taking a final call on the ban.

“I request you to take a holistic view and put on hold the draft ban order at this challenging time (COVID-19), taking into consideration the best interest and welfare of Indian agriculture and farmers,” he had said in the letter to Sanjay Aggarwal, Secretary, Union Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

“…The emergence of pest outbreaks may cause a serious damage due to non-availability of an efficacious broad spectrum of insecticides on the proposed ban list. The process of review should be science-based and consultative…,” he said.

“…The five major reasons cited in the draft notification towards justification of the ban are endocrine disruption properties, ban in other countries, availability of alternative chemicals, ecotoxicity or toxicity to honey bee/ aquatic organisms and additional data submission on bio-efficacy and toxicity. Is this data is available for new generation pesticides, which are cost prohibitive,” he had wondered.

Dr. Chowdappa, also former president of Association for Pest Management in Horticultural Ecosystems, Bengaluru, had said if banning of a particular pesticide by certain countries based on some studies can be taken as a basis to ban the same in India, scientific data was required to substantiate the action.

He had argued that the proposed ban could increase farmers’ expenses two to three fold.

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