APG likely to further legal action against Greenpeace on health scare

Bangalore, March 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2006, 05:30am hrs
Agrochemicals Promotion Group (APG), which represents over 200 crop protection companies in the country, may initiate further legal actions against Greenpeace, an international NGO, for causing unwarranted health scare related to pesticides in Karnataka.

Greenpeace India, in its earlier survey report on the cotton belt of Raichur region in Karnataka had claimed that chronic use of pesticides stunted the natural and normal abilities of local children. The NGO made similar allegations after conducting surveys in cotton growing regions in Warrangal taluk in Andhra Pradesh and Baruch region in Gujarat.

Refuting these charges, the APGs allied bodies United Phosphorous Ltd (UPL) and Crop Care Federation of India have already filed suits against Greenpeace and another NGO Toxiline in Warrangal and Baruch courts respectively.

We are waiting for reactions from the NGOs. If they are honest with their allegations, they should face our legal suits. They are making false allegations against Indian pesticide companies to bring down the food production of the country, RG Agarwal, chairman of APG, said. We have done a survey in the same Raichur area and found that the general health status of children is good and normal. There are stray cases of malnutrition amongst children who come from poor families, Mr Agarwal said.

Another pesticide forum, Crop Life Indias president Pradeep Mazumdar said that Indian farmers use an average of 500 grams of pesticides per acre as compared to 2.5 kg in UK, 5 kg in the US, 7 kg in Japan and over 10 kg in China.

India produces 16% food products of the world by using only 2% pesticide of the total world consumption. The world pesticide consumption hovers around Rs 1,50,000 crore, but in India, pesticides worth only Rs 4,000 crore has been utilised, while exports in this sector are worth Rs 2,000 crore. UPLs president Rajju Shroff said that the baseless allegations made by NGOs like Greenpeace are arresting the development and growth of the Rs 6,000 crore Indian agro chemical industry.