THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the wake of unregulated use of pesticides violating norms, the government has banned the use, sale and distribution of glyphosate, a deadly weedicide in the state. Announcing the decision in the Assembly on Monday, agriculture minister V S Sunil Kumar said it’s part of a move to make the state pesticide-free in a phased manner.
Orders have been issued banning the weed killer and products with glyphosate content, with effect from February 2. With this certain widely used brands like ‘Round Up’ and ‘Glycel’ will go out of the market. The government has also directed the Agriculture University to submit a report within 60 days on the safety aspects of glyphosate.
Making a statement in the Assembly under Rule 300 the minister said despite strict actions by the agriculture department, unscientific and uncontrolled use of pesticides still continue in some part of the state. Referring to the recent incident in Tiruvalla where farmers died due to allege due of pesticide, he said the government is in the process of setting up a state level squad to strengthen Enforcement wing.
The government is also taking steps to prevent pesticide companies and their agents directly approaching farmers and campaigning for their products.
“The practice of such campaigns and classes by agents at retail shops has been banned. Those who violate the ban - companies and traders who sell such pesticides without prescription - will face strict action. The minister said compared to 2015-16, the use of chemical pesticides has come down by 17.2 per cent this year. Similarly, the use of organic pesticides has gone up by 15.47 per cent. However, the use of weedicides has shown a major increase by 71.25 per cent. Of this, glyphosate is the most widely used weed killer. It’s one of the seven pesticides termed for regulated use by the state government.