Govt asks agro-chem cos to bring innovative products to check new pest attacks

12/07/2018 16:09

The government today asked agro-chemicals industry to come up with innovation solutions to deal with new pest attacks on crops that affects yields.

Addressing a Ficci event, Chemical and Petro-chemical Secretary P Raghavendra Rao said the government will focus on protecting the data of new molecules. He also stressed on increasing awareness among farmers to help them identify spurious insecticides and pesticides sold in the market.

"I feel that all stakeholder should put brains together to come out with solutions to the new pest attack that are occurring. We must come up with innovative solutions," Rao said at the event.

On the concern raised by the industry on data protection of new molecules, the secretary said, "Perhaps you are right in saying that we need data protection as you invest so much and introduce a new product".

There is a need to protect the data of new molecule so that no one copies it. "Yes, I do agree. Definitely, we will focus on this important issue," he said. He was responding to a concern raised by Syngenta India Managing Director and Territory Head South Asia Rafael Del Rio.

"There is need for providing data protection for first time introduction of molecule in India in the new Pesticide Managing Bill that is being proposed," he said.

Any new crop protection molecule reaches the market after more than 11 years of intensive research and development (R&D) efforts entailing an average investment of around USD 300 million, Rio said. The period of regulatory data protection should not be less than 10 years, in line with the globally accepted standards.

The logic behind regulatory data protection, Rio said it is to ensure that the innovator partially recovers the cost and also steward the correct usage of the product by farmers, before grant of registration approval for the same molecule. Encouraging R&D based companies to bring new crop protection products will also help curb the menace of spurious pesticides, he added.

Dhanuka Agritech Group Chairman R G Agarwal demanded that the government should reduce GST on pesticides from 18 per cent to 5 per cent in line with fertilisers and other agri-products.

He also underlined the need for revival of the agriculture extension programme and emphasised to abolish the APMC law and give freedom to farmers to market their products anywhere in India.