Shetkari Sanghatana (SS), the apex farmers’ body in Maharashtra, has opposed the Centre’s move to curb the use of glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide.

Its president Anil Ghanwat said many farmers across the country are cultivating HTBT cotton despite Centre’s ban and glyphosate is easily available and an affordable herbicide that the cotton farmers are using.

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As the government is not able to take a stand on HTBT cotton cultivation, it is trying to curb cultivation by restricting the use of glyphosate, said Ghanwat.

“No person shall use glyphosate except through Pest Control Operators,” said a draft notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, published on July 8. It has given 30 days time for any person to raise objection or suggestions on the draft order.

“Glyphosate helps farmers to control weeds, improve soil quality and farmers don’t have to spend much on labour. Farmers who have turned to HTBT cotton cultivation use glyphosate as it kills weed and does not affect the growth of cotton in any which way. The government is trying to block HTBT cotton cultivation by banning glyphosate. The SS will register its objection as the government’s move is anti-farmer,” said Ghanwat.

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He feared that if the Centre restricts the use of glyphosate it will still be available in the black market. “ In this case, the fake products might come in the market and farmers could be duped. Also, it would be impossible for Pest Control Operators to provide services in villages,” said Ghanwat.