KOCHI: Kerala's exposure to pesticides has nearly doubled in the recent past despite a government proclamation that it will become a fully organic-farming state by 2016.
According to the data published in the Economic Review of the state government, the pesticide consumption in 2013-14 rose to 1,176 tonne compared to 605 tonne in the previous year.
The share of weedicide in the total pesticide use had shown an alarming increase during the period as it went up to 140 tonne from the previous year’s 22 tonne.
The sharp increase is due to the lack of a coherent policy on the part of the state government.
“The government has not taken any steps to close the sources of their supply. Unless the government initiates such steps, the efforts to eliminate pesticide would remain futile,” said K. Krishnankutty, chairman of the committee that drafted the state’s agriculture policy. The policy calls for a series of steps to contain the use of pesticides including a computerised monitoring system for the purpose.
It calls for a regular watch on “computerised online pesticide registration system and action against companies and products which are marketed in the state without proper licensing under the Central Insecticide Board”. The policy demands the creation of a strong regulatory framework and monitoring system.
The increase in pesticide usage was noticed at a time when the state government decided to increase the vigil over vegetables and fruits coming from outside for pesticide content.
Recently, the Chief Minister held a meeting of the food safety officials which took a series of decisions including mandatory registration for vegetable and fruit vendors and steps to identify the supply sources to check them.
The state had also taken up the matter with Tamil Nadu, a major source of supply, complaining about the presence of high levels of pesticide residues in the goods coming from there.