The government has restricted use of herbicide Glyphosate and its derivatives, fearing health hazards and risk to human beings/animals, a move opposed by an industry association AGFI citing endorsements from global studies and regulatory bodies.
Glyphosate and its formulations are widely registered and currently used in more than 160 countries, including the EU and the USA. Farmers across the globe have been using it for safe and effective weed control for over 40 years.
“The use of Glyphosate is hereby restricted and no person shall use Glyphosate except Pest Control Operators (PCOs),” said a notification issued by the agriculture ministry on October 25.
The companies have been asked to return the certificate of registration granted for Glyphosate and its derivatives to the Registration Committee for incorporation of the warning in bold letters “The use of Glyphosate formulation to be allowed through PCOs” on the label and leaflet, it said.
The companies have been given three months time to return the certificate else strict action will be taken as per the provisions of the Insecticides Act, 1968.
State governments should take steps for the execution of this order, it added.
The final notification restricting Glyphosate comes more than two years after a draft was issued by the ministry on July 2, 2020. The draft was issued following a report from the Kerala government for prohibiting the distribution, sale and use of this herbicide.
Opposing the move, Agro-Chemical Federation of India (ACFI) Director General Kalyan Goswami said, “Glyphosate-based formulations are very much safe to use. This has been tested and validated by leading regulatory authorities worldwide including India.”
He also said it makes “no logic to restrict the use of Glyphosate only through Pest Control Operators (PCOs) which are non-existing in rural areas”.
Restricting its use through PCOs will make it inconvenient to farmers and also add to cost of cultivation, he added.
According to ACFI, the industry has already planned a label extension for use of Glyphosate 41 per cent SL formulation in six crops (cotton, grape, pomegranate, mango, and tomato). It is seeking permission for label extension on cotton and grape and the data generation is ongoing in other crops.
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