Farmers feel the heat of soaring pesticide prices

Shopian: At a time when the orchardists are busy in spraying their orchards with various pesticides, the farmers have raised concern about the high prices of ‘substandard’ pesticides, saying that the authorities are acting as mute spectator.

Orchardists while talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’ alleged that the pesticide retailers are selling the pesticides of same company at different rates but unfortunately the authorities are paying no heed to their sufferings.

They said that the pesticide dealers are selling pesticides at their own will as the authorities don’t even bother to intensify any checking to control the rates of the pesticides. Thus simultaneously resulting in the sufferings of farmers.

The farmer alleged that the authorities are hand-in-glove with the pesticide retailers.

Muhammad Yousuf, an orchardist from Chitragam area of Shopian said that he has bought 50 litres of spray (H.P) from a local pesticide dealer here at the rate of Rs 130 per litre.

He however said that his brother has bought same spray but from another dealer at the rate of Rs 100 per litre.

Another orchardist from Lassipora area of Pulwama district said that a local dealer in the district is selling a 500 gm packet of Captaf, a fungicide at the rate of Rs 350 to people while as the other retailer sells the same quantity at the rate of Rs 250.

Moreover, the orchardists said that the sub-standard pesticides continue to flow into the state and the government seems least bothered to take necessary measures in this regard, putting horticulture sector at stake.

Government in 2015 has promised to enact a law that will book people involved in the sale of substandard pesticides under PSA.

Despite the government announcement, three years have passed but nothing has been done in this regard, the farmers said.

An official from Horticulture department said that sub-substandard pesticides are allowed to being sold here as the state is sans a pesticides regulatory board and hi-tech testing laboratories of pesticides and fertilizers.

He added that the department has been conducting raids at different areas to check the sale of misbranded pesticides besides informing the growers through various mediums.

The official admitted the failure of the department in curbing the sale of substandard pesticides.

Fruit growers said their crops continue to remain under threat from spurious pesticides and authorities seems to be very less bothered.

They said that there has been decline in the horticulture production of the state due to spraying of spurious pesticides in the orchards.

They added that 5,000 cr apple industry of Kashmir is under threat from spurious pesticides and fertilizers and if proper measures were not taken immediately, the industry would be hit badly.

Irshad Ahmad, a fruit grower from Walerhama Pahalgam area said that if necessary measures are not taken to stop sale of substandard pesticides then this industry, which is considered backbone of state’s economy will vanish.

He demanded that enforcement wing of the department must swing into action to stop this menace at an earliest

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