Kerala was in a pesticide trap: Ratnakaran

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran has said that the Pesticide Management Bill, introduced in Parliament, did not address the core issue of pesticide misuse in the country and related problems.

In a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Mr. Ratnakaran said Kerala would be able to deal with serious pesticide contamination and related problems only if it got adequate legal and other support.

He noted that studies had shown that Kerala was in a pesticide trap. So, the State had adopted an organic farming policy strategy and action plan that envisaged a total phase-out of pesticides and chemical-based agriculture in 10 years.

Mr. Ratnakaran said the recommendations of the committee set up by the State government to study existing legislation should be considered while enacting the law.The committee had desired that the State government should be given all powers to decide which pesticide to manufacture, use and sell in the State.

It should have the power to take punitive actions and award compensations in the case of violations of the Act. Pesticides not recommended or approved for sale or use in specific crops or against pests in the State should not be allowed to be brought to the State.

The proposed Bill should have provisions to impose conditions that were locally specific for licensing of sale and use of pesticides.The practice of manufacturers directly selling to farmers should not allowed. Farmers were being influenced by pesticide dealers, leading to violation of prescribed recommendations.

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