The Jammu and Kashmir government has banned the sale of the pesticide Ethephon, widely used in ripening fruits and regulating plant growth, citing harmful effects on human and plant health. The state’s horticulture department secretary M H Malik said the decision was taken after a recommendation by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST-K) and the law enforcement directorate.
The horticulture department had requested the SKUAST-K to examine the issue and advise on the pesticide’s effects. “A detailed report received from SKUAST-K reveals that by use of such ripening agent, the quality of the crop gets deteriorated. Besides, such fruits cannot be stored for longer periods,” Malik said.
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Ethephon, if used continuously year after year, may render the tree unproductive and also reduce the life of the plant. Ethephon-treated fruits are not recommended for consumption immediately after the pesticide’s application as it results in dehydration due to its diarrheal properties, Malik said.
He said the SKUAST-K report indicates the hazardous effects of use of Ethylene (Ethephon) especially on the plant heath, fruit quality, shelf life and harmful effects on human health.