Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fake pesticides: A new threat to health in India

India is already suffering heavily due to corruption and malpractice. Use of fake pesticides is the new addition to this ever increasing list. Now, millions of farmers in India are unknowingly using fake pesticides onto their crops, thereby contaminating both the soil and the crops. This in turn is creating a serious threat to human health and food security in our country. The malpractice is thought to affect more 1.25 billion populations.
According to officials, in north India spraying of fake pesticides has aggravated heavy losses in the genetically modified cotton plantation due to the action of a pest, whitefly. This needs urgent attention and has to be checked as it is threatening to hit the annual farm exports of $26 billion from India.

The trade is operating by maintaining secrecy and using names having a stark resemblance to the original ones. Now this illegal trade has taken up 30% of the pesticide market share (amounting $4 billion). This statistic comes up after several governments aided studies. This is a major setback to India being the 6th largest exporter and the 4th biggest manufacturer of pesticides in the world.

This malpractice is flourishing with the help of small town influential dealers who are selling these fake products at high margin to naïve farmers, thus hurting the business of established farms manufacturing quality products.

The local farmers often admitted that being illiterate, they are highly dependent on local vendors for advice and use whatever they suggest making them easy prey to malpractice. The loss to the farmers is havoc as the fake pesticides never eradicate the pests causing massive crop destruction and the money spent on pesticides also gets wasted. Moreover, when the farmers see the first sight of pests despite the use of pesticides they start to apply more of the fake pesticides wasting more money and causing more harm to the land and crops.

Use of chemical pesticides, the real one is already causing severe harm to the environment, land and ultimately human health. However, they are at least doing the job they are meant to do, protecting the crops from pest attacks thereby increasing productivity. Although, it is detrimental to crop production in the long run, it serves the initial purpose of saving the crops from the pests. The spurious version is doing the long term harm without giving the short term result.

India is suffering heavily due to lack of strong laws and will to deal with this serious matter. Health of the general population is not taken seriously in our country and people found guilty in supplying fake pesticides get away with short jail terms and revoking of license. Additionally, use of pesticides that are banned in the Western World for adverse impact on health continues as well.

Sustained exposure to foods with pesticides can cause depression and even cancer. Many European nations along with Saudi Arabia stopped importing vegetables from India due to high pesticide levels. We are still using “monocrotophos”, a banned pesticide that killed 23 children in Bihar in 2013.

With the fake pesticide market, increasing at a rate of 20% per year and the overall pesticide market showing a trend of 12% increase it is high time we give urgent attention to this grave problem. How long will we keep our eyes shut and wait for others to take action?

This article is first published in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.


  1. Worthy article.
    Not only pesticides, there are a number of adulterated (duplicate / fake) food and edible manufacturing units in our country.
    Even about 50% of medicines (drugs) sold in the market are fake.
    There are sufficient laws but they are not implemented properly. Most of the guilty escape due to their political connections.

  2. Sometimes I feel it is a miracle that we are still alive eating such food. It gives a chill in your spine that this trade is operating by maintaining such secrecy and using names close to branded names and this trade has taken 30% of market share.

    1. We are alive, but getting affected little by little everyday....

  3. Now that's a scary thing! A fake pesticide as well?! Phew, it is hard to see where we are headed if things continue this way..


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