The Agriculture Ministry of India had decided to ban 27 pesticides, known to have a general detriment to health upon contact or consumption with several of these chemicals having carcinogenic or reproductive toxicity properties as well. This move to ban was regaled by many as a welcome development, with these pesticides noted as “likely to involve risk to human beings and animals" by an expert committee report of December 2015.
But on 2 June, the chemicals department opposed this “sudden ban" citing that it will affect investments (by the industry) and possibly cause a loss in export earnings for India. These highly hazardous pesticides are banned in 112 countries including China and the UK.1 Yet a myopic lens of temporary profit stifles the decision to better thousands of farmer lives.
Farmer suicides, hospitalization, as well as a loss of life, has been reported linked to these pesticides. Lakhs of farmers practice alternative methods without the use of these 27 deadly toxins, these are working agrarian models that are profitable without threatening lives. As citizens consuming these pesticides through our food, we must be aware of their adverse health implications. This ban will better all of our lives.
Join us as we petition Narendra Singh Tomar the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare to ensure that our lives, as well as the farmers, are safe from these pesticides.
Please note: For every 100 signatures we receive we will send the following email to the concerned decision-makers
To the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare: Narendra Singh Tomar ji,
Every year, thousands of farmworkers and farmers fall prey to deadly pesticides like acephate, monocrotophos, quinalphos, carbendazim, etc. These pesticides have been implicated in multiple cases with agri-workers being admitted with symptoms of poisoning after being exposed to these toxic pesticides. Many lose their lives too.
In fact, these pesticides are linked to numerous other deaths, with intentional ingestion to end life. But it is not just occupational poisoning and intentional poisoning that these pesticides are responsible for. There are also accidental deaths like the case of 23 children being poisoned due to pesticide-contaminated mid-day meal in Chhapra in Bihar.
Aligning the government’s move to ban these pesticides has not been easy. The chronic effects of these pesticides on health are not in the public imagination despite the well-documented risks that different pesticides cause ranging from reproductive health disorders, cancer, chronic ailments like diabetes, and impacts on birth, growth, and development of children. What is more – in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the necessary importance for a robust immune system cannot be over-stated, and our immune system is being compromised by pesticides and similar toxins.
We stand with the government’s decision to ban these pesticides. Yet it seems to be stalling on the precipice. Despite proven methods that farming without them can prove to be profitable and successful. Lakhs of farmers are already practicing these methods. NPM and Organic/Natural Farming are approaches to pest management that do not fall back on synthetic pesticides. Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Sikkim have created roadmaps to adopt non-chemical approaches to pest management, or to stop sales of very harmful pesticides. The government has begun investing in these approaches and the proposed ban is consistent with this decisive shift towards agroecology.
India is in a position to lead the world on such an organic/natural farming revolution, thereby providing greater profitability to farmers, safer food to consumers, natural resource regeneration, and addressing climate change. We urge you to go ahead with this proposed ban on 27 pesticides as well as to ban all other deadly pesticides and to phase out agrochemicals incrementally.
A concerned citizen