Indian Farmers Face Counterfeit Pesticides
NEW DELHI –- Indian farmers spend about US$2.6 billion on unregistered or counterfeit chemicals. The untested and unregulated products in turn cause about $1.3 billion in crop damage, according to a new report by the Agrochemicals Policy Group (APG).
Indeed, a sizeable number of suicides by cotton growers in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and other states over the past few years have been attributed to the use of spurious pesticides that caused widespread crop losses.
These inferior chemicals are sold predominantly in under-developed markets, including eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh, but they are readily available throughout the country, according to APG.
APG attributes the thriving spurious pesticides market to inadequate legal and other preventive action by the authorities concerned against manufacturers and traders of fake and inferior pesticides.
India’s pesticides industry is overseen by the Central Insecticides Board (CIB), a regulator created under the Insecticides Act of 1968. It is also responsible for the registration of agrochemicals.
The state agricultural departments are also involved in enforcing the Insecticides Act in terms of issuing manufacturing licences, environmental clearances and monitoring the distribution and quality of the products. APG says corruption could be a reason that counterfeit products are able to reach the distribution chain.