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Fake Pesticide Fiasco leads to Contamination

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Recently in Faridabad India, farmers found themselves spraying fake pesticides on their fields. Many sources, such as Skylyner Radio, have covered it. Of course, this is not a new problem but it is really dangerous.  It immediately causes the contamination of soil, and ultimately cut down on crop yields.

Representational image via indianexpress.com
Representational image via indianexpress.com

India has population over 1.25 billion people, and no one can deny the risk to human life that this incident has caused. Not only is human life at risk as a result of these antics, but also the crops used to feed people, as well as those used to grow other commodities like cotton and others. India currently generates about $26 billion USD  annually. By current estimates, the counterfeit pesticide, according to DainikBhaskar live news, make up somewhere around 30 percent of the pesticide market as per a recent government sanctioned study.

So, how it Happens

Image via bdnews24.com
Image via bdnews24.com

In small towns, the pesticide is sold to farmers who have trouble discerning counterfeits from the genuine products.  Even, this causes trouble for legitimate firms like Syngenta or PI Industries. With a significant lack of education, they rely on the vendor for advice on the right product and application. According to a farmer-“It’s a double loss when you see the crop wilting away and your money is spent on pesticides that don’t work.”

So what is the right solution?

Image via worldnewsreport.in
Image via worldnewsreport.in

The head of India’s top pesticide testing lab states that there is a simple solution to this problem: Don’t panic. He made it very clear that many farmers tend to panic at the first sight of infestation of their crops. Now, this is not to say that an infestation is not a problem, and it should be taken care of expeditiously, but that does not mean a farmer needs to purchase pesticide from the first salesperson that comes through town. The pesticide sales industry has a fair amount of fraudulent dealers taking the advantage of the farmers. So, it is important for farmers to wait, listen and choose the right pesticide. In other words, panic and pre-emptive spraying could only ruin the crop.

 Increase the punishment

Representational image via agpllp.ca
Representational image via agpllp.ca

Right now, the penalties for these perpetrators lack a considerable amount of legal weight. For example, one might face the revocation of their license when selling fake pesticide, but it won’t stop them again doing this business by crook due to huge chunk of pure profit involved. The government is considering an increase in inspections as well as an increase in penalties for false sales which include jail up to ten years.

Still, the overuse of chemicals by farmers is still to blame for much of the problem, meaning a lack of education could be a key factor. The solution is never simple, but something has to be done, even if it means providing more education for rural farmers.