Ruchika M Khanna
THE Centre’s transfer to ban 27 extensively used pesticides (12 pesticides, eight fungicides and 7 herbicides) could have little speedy affect on agriculture and farmers. As of now, a draft order has been issued, banning the manufacturing and sale of those pesticides on the grounds of the danger they pose to people and animals.
These pesticides are used on nearly all crops — paddy, wheat, maize, sugarcane and cotton, in addition to greens and fruits. A lot of nations have already banned these pesticides and the Union authorities is beneath strain from environmentalists to ban these in India. The debate, nonetheless, now centres across the alternate options accessible to farmers, and likewise whether or not these alternate options are economically viable for farmers, already reeling beneath ever-increasing enter prices and low worth realisation for his or her produce. There aren’t any alternate options accessible out there for a minimum of one-third of those pesticides. As a substitute for pesticides, Punjab has been selling Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to manage pests.
“Eh dawaiyan di varton saadi majboori hai… nahin tan sari fasal kharab ho jaoo. If the substitutes are available, and that too at a reasonable price, farmers will opt for the same. But from what we hear, the alternatives are almost double the cost of these pesticides proposed to be banned. Also, where is the guarantee that the substitutes are disease-resistant and will ensure that the yield of the crop remains as high as with the use of these 27 pesticides,” says farmer activist Randeep Singh of Sangrur district.
Pesticide use is among the many highest in Punjab, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Though Punjab has a a lot smaller space, its pesticide utilization accounts for nearly eight per cent of the nationwide determine. Almost 4,930 metric tonnes (MT) of chemical pesticides have been used within the state in 2019-20, as per figures accessible from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. According to the Punjab Farmers and Farm Workers’ Commission, the state has seen a gradual decline in using chemical pesticides. Punjab used 5,689 MT of chemical pesticides in 2014-15 and 5,543 MT in 2018-19.
Ajay Vir Jakhar, chairman of the Commission, says that the draft agriculture coverage for Punjab clearly defines that the pesticide utilization is to be diminished by 10 per cent annually. “Through counselling and other agriculture extension activities, we are gaining success and cutting down on pesticide usage for the past three years. A ban will not make these 27 pesticides vanish from the markets as huge stockpiles are being created by manufacturers and dealers. The shift to safer and cheaper alternatives will take time as the agriculture research system is not geared for it and is only offering chemical alternatives,” he says.
Baljit Singh, a farmer of Jatana Khurd in Mansa district, says the federal government ought to have a look at supplying the substitutes at cheap costs by means of cooperative societies. “It will build trust and farmers will opt for the safer pesticides faster,” he says, including that high quality management and common monitoring of the efficacy of substitutes would additionally assist enhance farmers’ confidence.
Farmer activist Ramandeep Singh Mann feels that the ban on pesticides, with out viable substitutes, may gravely affect the farm financial system. “All substitutes should be thoroughly examined, researched and experimented with before the farmers are asked to shift to these. The shift has to be gradual, so a complete immediate ban may not be in the best interests of all stakeholders,” he says.
Punjab’s pesticide use
Pesticide use is among the many highest in Punjab, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The state accounts for nearly 8% of the nationwide utilization. Almost 4,930 metric tonnes (MT) of chemical pesticides have been used within the state in 2019-20, down from 5,543 MT in 2018-19. The state’s goal is to scale back utilization by 10% yearly.
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