Agri Business

Crop protection cos join hands to check illegal pesticide sales

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 05, 2011


The crop protection industry has joined hands with Crop Life India, an association of technology-driven agriculture companies, to form an Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force in a bid to check the rampant growth ‘bio-products' laced with chemical insecticides. The major crop protection companies that have joined hands with Crop Life in the initiative include Rallies India, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Indofil Industries and Excel Crop Care.

The growth of Rs 8,000-crore Indian pesticide market is being stymied due to sale of these illegal products. According to industry estimates, the sale of illegal pesticide products may cross Rs 2,000-crore mark in the current financial year.

In response to a complaint made by the crop protection industry, the Department of Agriculture in Andhra Pradesh conducted raids in July and initiated action against 309 bogus companies.

Mr P.K. Mazumdar, Chief Executive Officer, Crop Life India, said: “Of the estimated Rs1,600 crore of illegal pesticides sold in India last financial year, about Rs 500 crore was through the garb of ‘bio-products'.

“These so called bio-products does not need any registration, testing, quality control norms or lab certificates as it is not mandatory,” he said

Explaining the modus operandi, Mr Mazumdar said counterfeit crop protection products comprise mainly illegally imported pesticides with questionable potency and impurities and are laced with chemical insecticides. Importers of illegal products camouflage their shipments especially from China as ‘bio products'. The untested so called ‘bio-products' laced with pesticides are the shortest route to sell unregistered products in the highly regulated Indian pesticide market, he said.

Most of the loop holes in the current Insecticides Act are expected to be plugged in the New Pesticide Management Bill 2010, awaiting approval of the Parliament.

The current Indian Insecticides Act 1968 has a list of 875 registered products classified as pesticides. The norms for registration of pesticide are tough and involve an investment of over Rs 1,000 crore in R&D, said Mr Mazumdar.

The activities of ‘illegal bio-product' makers have shifted to Andhra Pradesh after the recent Karnataka Government cracked down on them, he said. Crop Life India plans to make a presentation by August to the Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs on the illegal bio-products laced with harmful chemicals in order to check imports.

Published on August 05, 2011

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