Agriculture Industry

55th AGM of PMFAI: Leadership briefs members on efforts being put in to safeguard industry’s interest

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26 December 2023, Mumbai: 55th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the Industry Meet of Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) was held on 22nd December 2023 in Mumbai.

The industry meet was attended by members from agrochemicals, biological, and allied products Industries. The proceedings of the industry meet commenced with a welcome address by Mr. Pradip Dave, President, PMFAI giving a detailed account of PMFAI efforts to safeguard the interests of the Indian Pesticides Industry.

PMFAI office bearers Mr. Pradip Dave, President, Dr. Samir Dave, Secretary, and Mr. Ketan Mehta, Treasurer briefing members during AGM.

While addressing the audience from industry and other stakeholders, Mr. Pradip Dave informed that the year 2023 witnessed a bad situation for the Agrochemical industry due to low monsoon rains in many parts of the country and El Nino weather pattern, affecting agriculture production and agri inputs industries. The domestic business is badly impacted by the deficit and erratic monsoons. Exports also declined and the industry is struggling hard to bring back the situation to normal.

In the AGM, Mr. Pradip Dave and PMFAI Secretary Dr. Samir Dave, and Treasurer Mr. Ketan Mehta briefed members about PMFAI efforts during the year 20222-23.

Mandatory registration of technical-grade pesticides in India

PMFAI since 2011 worked on “Mandatory registration of Technical Grade Pesticides in India” before granting registrations for Pesticides Formulations for imports or indigenous manufacture. PMFAI efforts finally met results by approval of the policy decision taken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIB&RC) in December 2022. Mr Pradip Dave said the policy decision will help the registration of more technical-grade products in India for indigenous manufacturers, which ultimately will lead to an increase in the product portfolio of Indian companies, particularly MSMEs, and an increase in exports from India.

The Pesticides Management Bill 2020

Though the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture submitted its reports on “The Pesticides Management Bill 2020” to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in December 2021, the major concern left out in the report was provisions in the Bill for harsh punishments and penalties proposed under Offences and Punishments” on which PMFAI has made a submission to Government for relaxations to minimum levels. PMFAI also appealed Government for the de-criminalization of minor non-compliances in the sector for “Ease of Doing business”.

On Banning of 27 Pesticides

Earlier in the year 2020, the Government had proposed banning 27 pesticides which included many popular products used in India and in countries all over the world. Objections and suggestions by PMFAI and joint efforts with other stakeholders finally led to the ban being restricted to four products viz. Dinocap, Dicofol, Methomyl, and Monocrotophos 36 SL formulation.

Separate HS Code Classification

Considering PMFAI’s continuous dialogue with various Ministries of Government to properly control and regulate imports, the Government considered the suggestion for separate HS code classification of Technical Grade Pesticides and Formulation products. In India, all products of Agrochemicals / Pesticides both Technical Grade Products and Formulations have been classified under Customs Tariff Head 3808, and the majority of the products (almost 95%) fall under the “Others” category which has been badly impacting the indigenous manufacturing sector. Mr. Pradip Dave said that PMFAI now expects the Government to levy higher and differential customs duty structure for Imports of Technicals and Formulations in the forthcoming budget.

Defending Chlorpyrifos in Annexure-A of the Stockholm Convention

PMFAI with the support from the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare strongly opposed the proposal made by the European Union for listing the popular herbicide “CHLORPYRIFOS” in Annexure-A of the Stockholm Convention of POPs. Strong defense by PMFAI led to the POPRC Review Committee seeking further Annexure-D information on socio-economic considerations from member countries and for review in 2024.

On Environmental Standards

Stringent and unreasonable environmental standards proposed to be enforced by the Ministry of Environment and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which has been a major concern for the Agrochemical industry. India already has a robust regulatory framework for effluent discharge norms, particularly for the Pesticide industry especially when compared with other developed regimes like US-EPA. PMFAI is in continuous interaction with CPCB and the Ministry of Environment to revise the standards to achievable limits.

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Bills

Recent Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Bills proposing new laws for Agri Inputs industries unfairly propose to introduce laws to criminalize Agri Inputs industries by amending Central Acts for inclusion of prosecution and imprisonment terms, as the new proposed law proposes for “cognizable and nonbailable” provisions and making provisions to compensate farmers for crop failures and losses caused by adulterated, non-standard or misbranded seeds, fertilizers, and insecticides. PMFAI jointly working with other industry associations has appealed for withdrawal of the Bills and harsh laws proposed under the Bills.

PMFAI Annual Meet also highlighted PMFAI’s continuous efforts to contribute to social causes by providing financial assistance for education by way of scholarships to children of Farmers pursuing graduation and post-graduation courses in Agriculture and equivalent studies and to provide health care assistance to farmers and farmers’ families.

PMFAI Members and the industry representatives present at the Industry Meet appreciated PMFAI’s efforts in the best interests of Indian agriculture, the farming community, and the Indian agrochemical industry.

Mr. Pradip Dave also reminded all industry members about the 19th edition of the “International Crop Science Conference & Exhibition (ICSCE 2024)” organized by PMFAI in Dubai on 8th & 9th February 2024 at Dubai, which is one of the major global events for Agrochemicals, Biological products, and allied products industry. Last ICSCE 2023 Dubai witnessed excellent participation of over 1300 delegates from across the globe.

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