The reality of farming is that we don’t often see how our food is treated. Why it’s so important to find out and stand up for safer food –
Decades of lobbying by rights activists and environmentalists to ban hazardous pesticides in India that are prohibited elsewhere in the world appear to be making progress following a 14 May government order proposing to eliminate 27 of the worst culprits from a list of 318 toxic farm chemicals registered for use in India.
“Given that pesticide poisonings, accidental or deliberate, account for an average of 20,000 annual deaths in this country, the government notification of a plan to phase out 27 extremely or highly hazardous farm chemicals should be welcomed by all,” says Devinder Sharma, one of India’s leading farming and food security experts.
Sharma is also concerned that pesticide and chemical run-offs contaminating soil and water have turned Punjab state, where he is based, into a cancer hotspot. “It is time authorities woke up to the fact that food crops, especially fruits and vegetables contain dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals detrimental to the health of farmers, consumers and to the environment,” he tells SciDev.Net.