New licenses for selling and manufacturing pesticides and fertilisers in Punjab have been banned by the Punjab Government. According to reports, the ban is intended to stop spurious pesticides and fertilisers from being sold.
In this regard, all Chief Agriculture Officers in the state have been asked not to issue any new licences at the district-level as the state government has taken a decision in this regard. Agricultural Department head office permission should be obtained if a licence is absolutely necessary, stated the Joint Director of Agriculture Department’s orders.
Licenses are banned for small retailers, manufacturers, and those who get licenses for statewide sales. The department’s top officials say that the decision was made to regulate the sale of pesticides and fertilisers. The state has difficulty regulating the license holders since there are already too many. A top official said that too many spurious pesticides and fertilisers have now found their way to farmers, posing a threat to their operations. Pesticides and fertilisers are sold by close to 20,000 retailers in the state.
Farmers and youth are upset with the move, which they feel will result in fewer employment opportunities. After completing a one-year diploma in agriculture sciences, Gurbakshish Singh, a farmer from Nabha, said many youth had applied for the licence. In order to be eligible for obtaining these licenses, they must study for a course. He told The Tribune that they now feel let down. For this license, you need a degree in agriculture sciences, science, or a diploma in agriculture.
Last month, Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal met with the fertiliser and pesticide dealers’ association to discuss imposing a ban on issuing new licences, according to Gokal Prakash Gupta, a leading fertiliser dealer. In the meeting, many of the dealers opposed the granting of new licenses.
A change in the model of agriculture from chemical-based agriculture to natural farming is the need of the hour, according to Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary, BKU Ekta-Ugrahan. Rather than banning new licenses, the government should minimize the use of chemicals and fertilisers, and move towards biochemical usage on crops.