The State government has banned the sale and distribution of the weed-killer Glyphosate and all products containing it citing its harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Initially, the ban will be in place for 60 days from February 2, according to a Government Order issued in this regard. The government has invoked Section 27(1) of the Insecticides Act, 1968, to ban the weedicide on the basis of a report by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and a recommendation by the Agriculture Director.
The continued ban on Glyphosate — sold under the trade names such as ‘Roundup’ and ‘Glycel’ — will depend on the KAU report on its biosafety aspects, to be submitted within 60 days, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, who made a special statement in the Assembly regarding the ban on Monday, said.
Glyphosate tops the sales charts among weedicides sold in the State. Of the 318.476 tonnes of weedicides used in 2017-18, Glyphosate alone accounted for 129.436 tonnes. The ban on Glyphosate is also necessary to strengthen the movement to transform Kerala into a fully ‘organic’ State, the government said in its order.
The application of harmful weedicides of all types has shot up by 71.25% compared to 2015-16 in the State, the Minister said. On the other hand, application of chemical pesticides and fungicides dropped by 17.2% during the same period.
Although prescribed for use in tea plantations and fallow land, Glyphosate’s is now widely used in paddy fields before sowing, Mr. Sunil Kumar said. “Nowadays, it is also used for crops like pineapple and banana and even in households for removing grass from between interlocking tiles,” he said.
Further, through its order, the government has also outlawed the practice of pesticide companies and their agents approaching farmers directly with their products or conducting promotional campaigns and classes on their uses.