Pesticide Watch NGO releases report ‘State of Glyphosate Use in India’

Press Release| 16th October 2020



The pesticide watch group organisations Pesticide Action Network India and PAN Asia Pacific released a report titled ‘State of Glyphosate Use in India’, in a webinar titled Elimination of the Uncultivated Greens: Glyphosate Usage in India'conducted today. Ms. Sarojeni Rengan, executive director of PAN AP released the report. Ms. Rengam spoke about corporate accountability and the global campaign to ban glyphosate and stressed that multinational companies always do untruthful marketing of highly hazardous pesticides, harming farming community.

Presenting the report, Dileep Kumar A. D., assistant director of PAN India and author of the report said that ‘this report reveals the ground reality of glyphosate use in India based on field survey in seven Indian States. Glyphosate use is happening in India violating the national regulations as well as the International Code of Conduct on Pesticides Management’. He also that Glyphosate formulations are ‘registered to be used in Tea Plantation Crop and non-plantation area accompanying the Tea crop and any use beyond this is illegal and in violation of the insecticides Act, 1968 and Rules, 1971. Ironically, this field study has noted at least 20 non-approved uses of Glyphosate with 16 of them on food crops.  About 77 % of farmers and 41 % of workers reported use of glyphosate in weed control for several crops, all of them are non-approved uses for this herbicide in India’, he added.

Ms. Meena Menon, a well know journalist and a panellist in the webinar pointed out regulatory issues in India that large areas are planted with illegal herbicide tolerant crops, mainly cotton and which demand use of toxic weedicides such as glyphosate, and companies involved in producing and marketing illegal cotton seeds are not been booked by the government.

Ms. Eka Widayati, Regional Education Officer of International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) Asia/Pacific, did a presentation in the webinar on ‘defending workers right against glyphosate. The profession of agriculture workers is having greater risks of exposing to glyphosate making their life miserable. Hence, non-chemical weed management has to be followed rather than using toxic chemicals such as glyphosate.

Dr. Shankar Ramchandani, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, VSS Institute of Medical Science and Research, Burla, Sambalpur, Odisha shared his experience of managing patients poisoned by glyphosate, and he mentioned that its really difficult to medically manage the conditions of glyphosate poisoned patients as glyphosate induces severe complications such as renal failure.

In the light of mounting evidence on the unacceptable health and environmental outcomes of glyphosate, the ground reality of its use in India is seen as an ‘anarchic’ scenario.  This would have undesirable impacts on soil health, farm productivity, food safety, agriculture trade, public health, as well as environmental wellbeing in the country.

Dr. Narasimha Reddy, who moderated the webinar noted that the report State of Glyphosate use in India would serve as tool for advocacy and can also be used by government agencies and policy makers to have informed policy decisions to protect people. He also said agricultural scientists, Doctors and Bureaucrats need to be made aware of Glyphosate and its toxicity impacts.

Jayakumar C., Director of PAN India, Usha Soolapani from Thanal, Dr. Shankar Ramchandani from Burla Odisha, Jacob Nellithanam, Sridhar Radhakrishnan from Save our Rice Campaign and Dr. Ashwani Mahajan from Swadeshi Jagran Manch joined discussion in the webinar, highlighting the need of urgently banning glyphosate in India.

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