Agri Business

Pesticide makers want NIOH report on endosulfan withdrawn

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on February 11, 2011

The Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) today demanded withdrawal of the “erroneous” report of the Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) on the endosulfan issue, saying imported substitutes to this insecticide would only lead to exploitation of Indian farmers.

The NIOH report, it said, had become an alibi for some environmental NGOs and business lobbies to raise the anti-endosulfan propaganda, which even China and other countries have opposed. It also claimed that there was nothing to suggest that endosulfan was harmful to human health in any way.

Kasargod case

The six committees set up by the Union Government have also concluded that endosulfan was no issue in the alleged ill-health of the people in Padre village in Kasargod district of Kerala where the farmers had been using it.

Claiming that their diseases were due to some inherited genetic disorders that commenced even before endosulfan came to be used, Mr Pradip Dave, President, PMFAI, told a press conference here that the basic issue involved was to protect the business interests of European chemicals manufacturers under the garb of environmental and health issues, at the cost of Indian farmers.

Will only help Europe

Mr S. Ganesan, Chairman, International Treaties Experts' Committee, said that these European chemical giants had decided to phase out endosulfan in 2001 as it was no longer profitable to them. Chemicals (including pesticides and insecticides), he said, were the second largest traded commodity in the world, after fuel.

This business was worth $1,447 billion a year, with European Union's share being 60 per cent in 2009, according to WTO estimates. A ban on endosulfan would only benefit them.

Costly Alternatives

Mr R. Hariharan, a representative of the International Stewardship Centre, said India was the world's largest manufacturer of endosulfan, a low-priced broad spectrum generic “contact” insecticide soft on pollinators. India has a 70 per cent market share of endosulfan business globally with exports worth Rs 180 crore annually.

Gujarat alone produces 55 per cent of world's requirements of 40 million litres, worth Rs 1,350 crore, whose imported alternatives will cost Rs 4,500 crore to the Indian farmers.

Dr Jyotsana Kapadia, a scientist who chased NIOH for three years under the RTI campaign to ferret out 1,800 pages of raw data, said the July 2001 report in an Indian magazine about the alleged health issues of Kerala farmers using endosulfan had led to the “unscientific” NIOH report, which was now being cited on various global forums by vested business interests seeking a ban on endosulfan.

Mr Nayan Visavalya, a farmer from Amreli district of Gujarat, who was also present, said even prolonged use of endosulfan had caused no health problems to anybody.

Published on February 11, 2011

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