The Centre’s anti-NGO tirade got a boost on Monday with the Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) backed by former Greenpeace member Dr. Patrick Moore taking on foreign funded groups for “derailing the progress of the Indian agricultural sector.”
Rajju Shroff, chairperson, CCFI, told the media that the Federation plans to file a case in the Bombay High Court against Greenpeace for its report on pesticides in tea titled ‘Trouble Brewing’. The report released in August had said that a large number of tea samples tested positive for a cocktail of toxic pesticides.
Mr. Shroff said that Greenpeace had failed to share raw data publicly and there is secrecy on the tea report. He said the report maligned the Indian farmers and it even said that tea samples contained monocrotophos and DDT, which was not sprayed on tea.
He said the Federation was going to claim Rs. 50 crore in the suit for putting out results without any basis of pesticides in tea.
Greenpeace campaigner Neha Saigal clarified that the CCFI had sent them legal notices demanding that raw data be shared publicly. Ms. Saigal said Greenpeace had shared data with two or three companies, which demanded raw data.
The results of the study were made public but there is no obligation to share raw data publicly or with CCFI, she explained. If the tea companies want to do so they can share the data, she added.
However, Mr. Shroff and Dr. Moore said the tea companies didn’t have the raw data. They also dismissed commitment from the Tatas that it was going in for research on non-pesticidal management.
Dr. Moore said Greenpeace was using blackmail tactics and they scared off companies by such research. Tata Global Beverages (TGB) limited announced on September 27 that it was conducting research on non-pesticidal management of tea crop protection. A press release said the company was going in for project Sustainable Plant Protection Formulation (SPPF) in August 2014 with the vision to promote ecological agriculture and non-pesticidal management (NPM) in tea production in India.
TGB is encouraging its suppliers to use ecological practices such as bio-pesticides, biological agents, tillage etc. in their farms.
Availability of adequate scientific and technical knowledge will be critical for achievement of this goal. As a step in this direction, TGB has initiated research and development under SPPF to evaluate the viability of biological or non-pesticidal methods for plant protection of tea crops, the release said.