State Agriculture Dept mulling ban on herbicide

ST CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 1 September 2018

The department has said that though it prefers to ban the chemical altogether, the ban was not possible immediately after the notices were issued. The ban can only be implemented after there has been a hearing on the appeals of the chemical companies and a detailed study of the appeals made

Pune: Out of the many weedicides used in farms across the State to kill weeds without requiring manual labour to clean them, Glyphosate, a herbicide that has come under fire for allegedly causing harm to the human body after consumption and is undergoing a trial beginning Monday, under the State Agriculture Department, which is mulling a complete ban on the chemical.

The department had objected to the use of Glyphosate alleging that the chemical harms the human body and is not safe for consumption. The department also raised objections that the companies, which have been given the licence to produce and market the chemical, were given licence for the product to be used only in tea gardens and empty, non-cultivated land only. This licence has been misused, according to the department.

The trial has been initiated following the State Agriculture Department issued notices to these companies. On Monday, representatives of various chemical manufacturers including Monsanto had gathered at the Quality Control Directorate, where the director of quality control, Vijaykumar Ingale, and other officials heard the appeals of companies, which have been issued the notices.

The department has said that though it prefers to ban the chemical altogether, the ban was not possible immediately after the notices were issued. The ban can only be implemented after there has been a hearing on the appeals of the chemical companies and a detailed study of the appeals made. Even though the companies have issued clarifications and study results, the department has said that it is carrying out its own studies.

The companies claim that there is no reported harm to the human body due to the minimal consumption of their products’ residue. The companies also claimed that there have been no reports or observations where the weedicide has been misused as per the claim of the agriculture department. The other side to the weedicide issue is that these chemicals are an easy and cheap method to get rid of weeds without implementing costly farm labour. The department has said that it will think of all sides before arriving at a decision.

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