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Noting that the recent ban on 27 technical grade pesticides was based on the ‘arbitrary’ review process of Dr. Anupam Varma Committee, Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) today demanded an enquiry into the matter by a high-powered Govt-appointed scientific committee. PMFAI also expressed concern over the adverse impact of the ban on farmers battling locust and lockdown in the Kharif season and said such a move will bring the Indian domestic and export markets to their knees and strengthen Chinese competition.
“All the 27 molecules have been registered in India by regulatory authority CIB&RC, meeting all scientific evaluations for safety and efficacy, backed up by scientific data. These generic pesticides are used in India since 1970 without any risk or adverse impact to humans, animals and environment, and includes Malathion that was extensively used by the government during the recent locust attack. The review process of Dr. Anupam Varma Committee was arbitrary – the committee, formed in July 2013, was initially mandated to examine continued use of three neon icotinoids but within a month, the mandate was expanded to 66 generic insecticides that are banned, restricted or withdrawn in some other countries, but are used in India. This disregards FAO’s advice that climate, crop grown, pests and diseases must guide the choice of pesticides for every country,” said Pradip Dave – President, PMFAI and Chairman Aimco Pesticides at a webinar on Impact of Banning 27 Pesticides on Agriculture and Agrochemical Industry, organised by PMFAI today.
“In its final report, submitted to the Government of India in December 2015, the committee recommended a ban on 18 pesticides and suggested review of 27 generic insecticides after completion of studies. We conducted recommended studies suggested by the Registration Committee and submitted the report in 2019, explicitly stating that we are ready to conduct further studies, if directed. However, on May 14, 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare issued a draft ban on these 27 pesticides,” Dave added.
The association also noted that implementing the ban will increase the input cost of farmers and force India to stop supplying to the global market, now catered to along with China. It will also break the backbone of Indian generic pesticide industry, including several MSMEs.
“The pesticides under the ambit of the proposed ban produce more than 130 formulations used by the farmers for crop protection. This ban will increase farm input cost of farmers who are affected by lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 and locust, apart from various other threats to their crops. These pesticides account for 40 per cent of the domestic market and the alternative available to the farmers will be branded, ready-made and expensive ones produced by the MNCs. The generic pesticide formulations, proposed to be banned, cost between Rs 350 to Rs 450 per litre, which is economic and affordable to most of the farmers. If the ban is imposed, the alternatives imported will cost in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,000 per litre,” said Dr. KN Singh, Vice President - Registration, Gharda Chemicals.
"Imposing the ban will be a double whammy for the agriculture sector and can significantly burden the efforts to double farmers’ income by 2022. At the same time, the ban will shrink India’s export capability by more than 50 per cent and hand over a market worth Rs 12,000 crore to our Chinese competitors."
“Imposing the ban will be a double whammy for the agriculture sector and can significantly burden the efforts to double farmers’ income by 2022. At the same time, the ban will shrink India’s export capability by more than 50 per cent and hand over a market worth Rs 12,000 crore to our Chinese competitors – it will defeat the very purpose of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’,” Singh added.
PMFAI, an industry body comprising Indian pesticide manufacturers, formulators and traders, along with other representatives has also submitted a representation to the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (DCPC) in this regard.
“The DCPC has noted that any chemical evaluation should be done using risk-based (not hazard based) approach and banning of a particular pesticide by a few countries based on some studies somewhere may not provide us enough ground to take similar action in India without having adequate scientific evidence in the Indian context. It also states clearly that even if chemical evaluation and socio-economic impact assessment of these pesticides justify their ban for use in Indian agriculture, there may not be adequate ground for banning their production for exporting to other countries. The DCPC is of view that agrochemical sector is badly affected due to the pandemic and the proposed banning of these 27 pesticides may not be an appropriate step. Instead, a suitable sector-wise strategy to overcome the socio-economic setback is necessary,” said Dr. Samir Dave - Director of Aimco Pesticides and President, Agrocare, Belgium.
- Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) challenged the review process of Dr. Anupam Varma Committee Report and demanded an enquiry by a high-powered Govt-appointed scientific committee.
- Dr. Anupam Varma committee, formed in July 18, 2013, was initially mandated to examine continued use of three neon icotinoids but within a month on August 19, 2013, the mandate of the Committee was expanded to review 66 generic insecticides that are banned, restricted or withdrawn in some other countries, but are used in India.
- Dr. Varma Committee completed the review process of 66 pesticides in 5 meetings held in 2014 without involving Indian generic industry, and in 2016 as per Dr. Varma Committee recommendations, 18 generic pesticides were banned and allowed continued use of 27 pesticides, by passing necessary Government order.
- The 27 generic pesticide formulations to be banned cost between Rs 350 to Rs 450 per litre while the alternatives imported will cost in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,000 per litre.
- The ban will shrink India’s export capability by more than 50 per cent and hand over a market worth Rs 12,000 crore to Chinese competitors. Tt will defeat the very purpose of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
- Total Global Market size of Generic Agrochemical is Rs.30,000 crore plus and China will be winner if these 27 generic pesticides are banned.