Import of Readymade Pesticides Formulations without registering Technical Grade Products in India is becoming major threat

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Guest Author: Pradip Dave, President, Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI)

05 September 2021, Mumbai: Surging Imports of readymade Pesticides Formulations without registering Technical Grade Pesticides is increasing at a threatening pace every year which presently stands at more than Rs.10,000 crores. The policy is causing its worst impact on Indian Farmers due to high cost of imported products, monopolistic imports and marketing. 

During imports of readymade pesticide formulations, the importers also pass on economic fluctuations of countries from where the product is being imported and affects the Indian farmers directly. Due to the monopolistic imports, farmers are compelled to pay heavy prices for imported products which are sold to them at 100% to 250% profit margins by importers, resulting in marginalizing farmers’ income due to higher inputs cost. 

Post introduction of Insecticides Act, 1968 and Insecticides Rules 1971, for more than 35 years, technical grade pesticides were registered in the country by Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIB&RC) in parallel to formulation registration. This was in alignment as per policy mandated by FAO & WHO and is followed by countries all over the world including major agricultural nations like USA, Europe, Brazil, China, Australia, Argentina etc,. Regulations in these countries mandates mandatory registration of Technical Grade Pesticides prior to granting registrations for Formulation products.

The policy introduced in 2006 of allowing registrations for imports of Readymade Pesticides Formulations without registering the Technical Grade Pesticides in the country has impacted the growth of Indian agrochemical sector for the last 14 years. 

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Contrary to the vision of “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat”, the policy allowing registrations for “Imports of readymade Pesticides Formulations without registering Technical Grade Products in the country”  is ruining the prospects of self-reliance in Agrochemical sector. The policy discourages registration and production of Technical Grade Products in India by large-scale manufacturers who are largely MSMEs. These MSMEs are mainly involved in manufacturing of Formulations and ensure availability of pesticides to Indian farmers at most economic price and help improve Indian exporters. 

Over last 14 years, it has been proved beyond doubt that regulatory changes post 2006 allowing imports of Readymade Pesticides Formulations without registering Technical Grade products didn’t encourage entry of new molecules to India for the benefit of Indian Farmers but has only helped facilitating formulation imports of off patent molecules with market monopolies.

More importantly, Imports of Readymade Pesticides Formulations without registration of Technical Grade products also run the risk to the health & safety of farmers as well as soil and environment of the country. Technical grade active ingredients are the underlying main components in the formulations which is responsible for its pesticidal actions (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc) and the same active ingredients that carry the risk and hazards, their evaluation and registration in the country is key and should be the basis for registration.

Also, continuing the policy of Imports of Readymade Pesticide Formulation products without registering Technicals will only help supporting investments, infrastructure and job opportunities abroad, rather than in India contrary to the vision of “Make in India” and “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. 

The Indian Government must abolish the policy allowing registrations for “Imports of Readymade Pesticides Formulations (Finished Products) without registering Technical Grade Products and make provisions for compulsory registration of Technical Grade Pesticides (Active Ingredients) prior to granting registrations for Formulations.

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