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Pesticide ban lands Kerala in court

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Jul 15, 2011 | From the print edition

Cardamom planters, pesticide makers against the ban

CARDAMOM Planters Marketing Co-operative Society in Kerala has appealed to the high court to suspend the ban on the use of extremely toxic and highly toxic pesticides. They say the ban will affect the cardamom crop this season.

To promote organic farming in Kerala, the state agriculture department had ordered a ban on the use of these two categories of pesticides on May 7. The order was to be implemented within 10 days.

During this period the Kerala Agriculture University was asked to provide alternatives to the banned pesticides, which include carbofuran, phorate, methyl parathion, monocrotophos, methyl demethon, prophenophos and triazophos. The university suggested less hazardous pesticides, like acephate, carbaryl, dimethoate and flubendiamide.

While filing the petition on May 30, the cooperative society cited recommendations of the Spices Board of India, which looks after the development of the country’s cardamom and spices industry. Of the 10 pesticides recommended by the board, the state has banned five.

The cooperative society alleges the agriculture department is targeting only a few pesticides. If it wants to go organic it should ban all pesticides, it said. According to a government official, the state will ban all pesticides in a year.

A day after the cooperative society filed the petition, the Kerala Pesticides Manufacturers Association also opposed the order, calling it illegal.

The association filed a petition with the agriculture department seeking the withdrawal of the order. It said the state has not banned the pesticides under the Insecticides Act of 1968, which allows only temporary ban of 60 days with a further extension of 30 days.

The official said since agriculture is a state subject, the government can issue such orders.

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