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‘Agrochemicals are safe; battling against diseases and climate change’

The drastic climate change and change in disease patterns have made crops even more vulnerable to new diseases and lesser effective defence mechanisms

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Agrochemicals have played a crucial role in altering India’s food-scant status to a food-surplus nation. However, the role of agrochemicals has been under suspicion for long due to alleged harm it causes to both human and the environment. Insecticides India Ltd. (IIL), a leading agrochemical company of the country, advocates the right use of agrochemicals by the farmers and has been promoting know-how for the right kind and quantity of agrochemicals for each crop all across the country.

“After attaining independence, India has imported a large amount of the foodgrain but since the 1960s, India became self-sustained and has also become an exporter. This dramatic change in production of essential foodgrains was facilitated by latest agro inputs like fertilisers, agrochemicals and a host of other technological interventions,” Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides (India) said.

“Agrochemicals are safe: according to news published recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally salvaged agrochemicals by acknowledging that insecticides are not among the various causes of cancer,” Aggarwal added.

“According to the government of India estimates, only two percent of samples found pesticides over MRL during 2008-18. Besides, it also stated that even organic foods contain insecticides and a greater number of cancer patients are found in north-eastern states where the use of insecticides is very less, proving that there is barely a connection between use of agrochemicals and incidence of life-threatening diseases like cancer. Defaming agrochemicals was handiwork of a few institutions and we strongly refute those allegations as they are unfounded and do not have a scientific basis,” he further added.

Agrochemicals comprise a wide range of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and plant growth regulators (PGRs). Earlier this decade, the government acknowledged the importance of agrochemicals in response to a query from the Parliamentary Standing Committee, stating that nearly 20-30 percent of food crops, worth about INR 45,000 crore, are eaten away by pests and diseases, and controlling fungal diseases alone in the world’s five most important crops could feed more than 600 million people. It also adds that availability of safe and effective pesticides and their judicious use by the farming community is critical to a sustained increase in agricultural production and productivity.
 
“However, farmers in India, in addition to their lack of literary, were also stricken by poverty. Driven by the lure of increasing their income, they used without knowing the right time and dosage. The drastic climate change and change in disease patterns have made crops even more vulnerable to new diseases and lesser effective defence mechanism. Agrochemical companies are, in a way, fighting an unequal battle and any attempts against them can seriously affect the food and nutrition security of the country by large,” Aggarwal opined.

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