Fruit growers demand ban on sale of counterfeit pesticides

Baramulla: Demanding a complete ban on the sale of counterfeit pesticides in Valley, scores of fruit growers and horticulturalists on Sunday held protest demonstration against government’s non-seriousness towards the horticulture sector.
Under the banner of United Fruit Growers Forum (UFGF), the protestors assembled at of Choora, Baramulla along the Srinagar Muzaferabad Road raised slogans in favour of their demands and urged government for immediate redressal of their problems.
The agitated protesters threatened to go for an indefinite strike in future, if their issues were not resolved at the earliest.
Talking to reporters, convener Jammu and Kashmir Fruit Growers Forum, Adv Irfan Hafeez, said the government has failed fruit growers in checking the sale of counterfeit pesticides in the market.
“Every year, the government authorities inform fruit growers about a particular pesticide only to be branded it as counterfeit next year. This year again, we have been directed to spray at least 22 pesticides to our orchards, which is too costly,” said Hafeez, adding that the horticulture was backbone of state’s economy and that 70% of people were directly or indirectly dependent on it. .
He said that in absence of any testing laboratory to check the authenticity of pesticides, the growers are forced to use pesticide available in the market. “There are hundreds of companies making these pesticides in Jammu and Kashmir, and government has failed to clear the air as which pesticide is fake or not,” added Hafeez. He said the growers who lost horticulture land and apple orchard in 2014 floods were yet to receive any compensation from the government.