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Webinar on “Restrictions in use of Glyphosate: Implications in weed management” was organized by ICAR-DWR, Jabalpur in collaboration of ISWS   (20 July, 2021)

To commensurate with the Govt. of India’s mission “Bharat ka Amrut Mahotsav” commemorating 75 years of India’s independence, a stakeholders dialogue was convened in a virtual mode by the Indian Society of Weed Science (ISWS) and ICAR-Directorate of Weed Research (DWR), Jabalpur on 20-07-2021, to have more scientific discussions and clarifications on the proposed “Restrictions on use of Glyphosate through PCOs” by the Government of India (Draft Glyphosate order 2020). More than 55 stakeholders including scientists, Govt. officials, industry personals, and progressive farmers participated in this dialogue. The lead panellists included were: Dr. NT Yaduraju, former Director, ICAR-DWR; Dr. Ajit Kumar (Vice President, UPL), Dr. PJ Suresh (lead-Regulatory affairs, Bayer Crop Sciences), Dr. AK Reddy, Dy. Director (WS), CIB&RC, Dr. Shobha Sondhia, Pr. Scientist, ICAR-DWR, Dr. MS Bhullar, PI, AICRP-WM, PAU, Dr. P. Prameela, PI, AICRP-WM, KAU, Dr. T Ramaprakash, PI, AICRP-WM, PJTSAU; and two progressive farmers namely Mr. Satish Dubey and Mr. Nalin Sharma from Jabalpur. In addition, Dr. RP Dubey, Pr. Scientist & I/C AICRP-WM, DWR, Dr. P. Murali and Dr. CR Chinnamuthu from TNAU Coimbatore, Dr Neelam Sharma from HPKVV Palampur also took part in the discussion.

In his opening remark, Dr. JS Mishra, Director ICAR-DWR, Jabalpur, and Secretary, ISWS made a brief presentation on the Glyphosate, its developmental history, usage, development of roundup ready GM crops like soybean, cotton, maize, etc., significant increase it its consumption, its positive and negative impacts on agricultural production and environment, restrictions in some States on its use, and Government of India’s view on restricted use in pesticides, label-claims and other requirements for the safe use of pesticides, and set a stage for further discussion. Dr. NT Yaduraju said that the Glyphosate is very cheap and effective herbicide with the least residual problems. More studies need to be done on the risks involved with glyphosate use. Because of the illegal cultivation of Bt cotton in some states, it is being used indiscriminately. Proposal on application of glyphosate through PCOs need to be relooked in view of its availability in rural areas. Dr Ajit Kumar told that the Industry has already submitted the clarifications as required by the Govt. of India. Restrictions on use of this herbicide should be based on scientific evidences. PCOs are not going to solve the problem. Dr. PJ Suresh opined that glyphosate is highly safe, effective and economical herbicide. Its risk assessment has widely been done. He further said that, if required, more scientific assessment can be made on glyphosate. He emphasised on upgradation and strengthening of the PCOs. Dr. AK Reddy put the views of CIB & RC, as to how the question of its restricted use came in discussion, and the progress made there after by the Government. Dr. Shobha Sondhia discussed more on the toxicological profile of the herbicide, and suggested to have proper documentation of the scientific evidences related to its use, safety and environmental impacts. As the safety of the farmers is the first, she advocated the use of glyphosate through trained persons like PCOs. Dr. Prameela, discussed about the residual effect of glyphosate on soil microbes, earthworms, and fishes. Its detrimental effect was noticed on fishes, she added. Dr. MS Bhullar suggested for its use in only those crops and areas where it has the label-claim. Dr. Ramprakash said that farmers in Telangana are ready to replace glyphosate provided a cheap substitute is available. Progressive farmers also suggested that glyphosate is economical and effective herbicide, but it should be used by trained persons to avoid any hazards.

Chairman Dr. Sushil Kumar while summarizing the whole discussion emphasized that no doubt, glyphosate is cheap and effective herbicide, and is used in many crops and areas other than those having label-claims, therefore, the industry should generate more data and submit to CIB & RC for expansion of its label-claims, so that the farmers should not be deprive of the benefits of this herbicide. There is a need to train the stakeholders regarding safe use of this herbicide. The PCOs need to be strengthened in terms of the numbers and knowledge, so that they can reach to farming community as and when required with minimum costs involved. More scientific studies on environmental impact of glyphosate including human and animal health, need to be carried out. Dr. CR Chinnamuthu, Vice-President, ISWS and Convener of the programme, proposed the vote of thanks.

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