The recent gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India on proposing ban on 27 crop protection molecules, is not going down well with the industry.
CropLife India, an association of 15 R&D driven crop science companies, in a statement, has said, “We are surprised by the draft gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. At a critical time of ensuring food security for the country and significantly leveraging the transformational agricultural reforms announced recently by the government to improve farmer profitability and export competitiveness; this draft proposal to ban 27 molecules is a major setback.”
While these products were duly registered in the country after scientific evaluation for their safety and efficacy by CIB & RC and they were further supported with more scientific data, as and when required by the regulatory body. They continue to be used for mitigation, control of pests and diseases of a wide range of crops in India and in several other countries. Farmer woes will increase during the approaching Kharif season and at a time when Locust attack is looming over the border areas of Punjab and Rajasthan, the association has said.
Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India said, “CropLife India will submit its refutation to the concerned ministry on the draft order. The order has certain factual errors, inconsistencies and incomplete claims; as per the data submitted by our member companies and other original registrants for some of these molecules. We emphasise that the process of review should be science-based and consultative. We also urge that the draft order should not be erroneously misinterpreted or misused by the state and district level administrators; to disrupt the supplies of these products till the issuance of the final order, at a time when the supply chain is already struggling with extraneous factors such COVID-19.”
As per a study, the proposed molecules together constitute about 18-20 percent of the Indian market. COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruptions in the agricultural supply chain, coupled with labourer shortage and in the absence of properly planned alternatives, crop yield, food security and farmers’ livelihood in the country will be adversely impacted with this ban.
“Due to the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19, many countries want to shift their production bases and trade from China under ‘Asianization’ of Supply Chain’. This can present a remarkable opportunity for India. However, to capitalise on the situation, we need to present a positive and stable investment climate, coupled with a non-alienated regulatory framework. Sudden ban of 27 molecules generates negative sentiments for investments. India is one of the largest producers and exporters for some of the molecules listed in the draft order; and a ban will also lead to adverse impact on global supply chain and go against the principles of promoting ‘Make in India’,” Sen added.
“We hope the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare will take a holistic view and not pursue the draft ban order at this challenging time, keeping in mind the best interest and welfare of Indian agriculture and farmers”, Sen further added.