Exemption of Pesticides manufacturing, distribution and sales during the Covid-19 lockdown

Mr. Rajendra Velagala

Former Chairman

CropLife India


“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures” – Benet Wilson

The measures initiated by Government of India in the Farm Sector to overcome challenges posed by COVID pandemic are deeply appreciated.

In addition, transformational reforms like deregulation of important commodities, enabling farmers to sell at place of choice and contract farming will enable Indian Agriculture to be more competitive and enhance farm profitability.

Input Industry is one of the enablers of food security. Invasive pests like Fall Army Worm and Locusts are making farming more challenging and we in Crop Protection Industry are committed towards Sustainable Agriculture and success of our farmers. Stable policy environment and supportive regulatory system will nurture innovations and help Indian farmers.

Stable Policy Environment

• Draft proposal to ban 27 molecules is a major setback, it came as a surprise and gave a message on volatile policy environment. This GO raised serious concerns on transparency in decision making and ease of doing business. This decision also lowers choices to farmers and to grow profitably. This draft GO will also put immense pressure and risk of resistance development to remaining available products thus threatening sustainability of food production in medium to long run.
• We seek support from Government to take a science-based decision driven by Risk-based assessment.

Supportive Regulatory System:
PMB 2020 is a great opportunity to holistically address emerging needs of Indian agriculture through an enabling regulatory environment. Before the Bill becomes an Act, it is essential to examine whether the proposed Bill does address critical issue in a comprehensive manner. Some of our recommendations:

• Cost of new molecule research has gone up to $286 million and it is taking ~ 11 years for discovery of one new active ingredient. At this backdrop, provisions to encourage the introduction of newer, safer and better products needs consideration in PMB.
• Re-registration to be alignment with other developed countries US, Australia, Canada, Japan and it can be done 15 years after first registration in with emphasis on safety and efficacy.
• There is a need to revisit the Offences and Punishment clauses in PMB. Industry unanimously recommends decriminalization of agro-input manufacturing sector, since it may be counterproductive and will create a negative investment climate. This is also in line with announcements made by Government during budget 2020 for the Companies Act.
• Price Control in a highly competitive industry is against the spirit of economic reforms and will limit investments and farm extension.
• Precision Agriculture will not only enhance efficiency but will make farming more sustainable. Use of Drones is one such area which needs to be a part of PMB.
• Regulatory Data is protection (PRD) will encourage innovators to discover, protect, register and produce new solutions which not only help farmers grow more and better food but will also enable Make in India/ AatmaNirbhar Bharat. In addition to manufacturing capabilities, this will position India as an innovator and for its R & D capabilities. Divergent views exist within the industry on this topic and there is a need for discussions in the best interest of farming and country.

CropLife India, is fully committed to bring in new and safer innovations in the country as well as dedicates itself in educating the farming community, in safe and judicious use of agrochemicals.