Tandrust Punjab Mission much known for action against adulterators is also consistently carrying out massive awareness campaign against use of pesticides in Basmati, informed KS Pannu, MD Tandrust Punjab Mission.Punjab has been dominating the Basmati rice exports to the world but has registered decline in exports to European Union, USA and other world markets due to excessive use of pesticides. In last three years more than 400 import refusals have been reported due to the presence of higher than approved level of pesticides residue, as per the study of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), said Pannu.Recently, Punjab Rice Miller Exporters Association informed the State Government that they are facing big refusal of basmati rice shipments from EU and USA due to higher residue of pesticides in basmati. They listed the five problem causing pesticides namely Acephate, Cabandazim, Thiamethoxam, Tricyclazole and Triazophos. Since these pesticides are registered with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC), Government of India for control of various pests, as a result State Government cannot ban/prohibit the sale/use of these five pesticides as per Insecticide Act, 1968. So, for ‘Pesticides Free Basmati’, awareness regarding Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), recommended alternatives to these five pesticides are being popularised, said he.
“Any adverse effect on over Rs.50,000 crore Rice Export Business will have negative repercussions on the farmers as well,” opined Pannu and added that being a non-MSP crop, Basmati is not procured by the Government agencies and its sale is totally depends upon the private traders. 90% production of basmati is exported, if the consignments of this crop are rejected due to higher concentration of pesticides, then there will be a great loss to the farmers of the State directly. Under the Tandrust Punjab Mission, all out efforts are being made to sensitize the stakeholders on the issue. A comprehensive and robust campaign to drive home the message of pesticides free paddy is being run.Apprising of status of activities Pannu said that the extension teams of Agriculture Department along with Punjab Rice Millers Exporters Association are working jointly with perfect synergy towards organising meetings/seminars/awareness camps for the farmers and dealers, state wide. So far, over 250 camps have been organised since July 15, 2018.The Dealers Meetings are being held at district level as well as block level to make them aware of the problem of residue of pesticides and are being asked to participate in the campaign in favour of farming community. They are being advised not to sell these pesticides and it has been made mandatory to mention in the bill the crop name for which inputs are sold.Similarly, Farmer Awareness Camps are being organised in date wise time schedule to cover all blocks/villages regarding ill effect of these five pesticides and the alternatives available. Posters, banners advertisements, whatsapp messages and Gurudwara announcements are being used to generate awareness.At the same time, an extensive campaign has been launched to check the bills from farmers for purchase of pesticides/inputs, so that quality pesticides should reach the farmers, informed Mission Director.