Central Insecticide Board clarifies pesticide spraying with drone illegal in India
PAN India | 02nd February 2020
In a letter sent to the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, government of India, the Central Insecticide Board (CIB) has clarified that spraying pesticides with drone is illegal. The letter says that ‘as per the provisions of the Insecticide Act, 1968 and Rules framed thereunder, aerial application of pesticides need approval/permission from the Central Insecticide Board. Further, no approval has been granted by CIB in the past for use of drones to spray pesticides’.
This response from CIB came after an intervention from Dr. Narasimha Reddy of Pesticide Action Network India. Dr. Reddy wrote to the authorities earlier in November 2019 highlighting the use of drone for spraying pesticides in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Use of drones for pesticide spraying was also reported from Kerala as well. In Kerala, the agriculture department supported a novel project named ‘Agro Drone’ on use of drones for spraying bio-pesticides.
Once drones gets into the business of spraying even bio-pesticides, eventually it could also end up in its use for application of chemical pesticides as well, as there is no mechanism or monitoring in place to ensure that farmers are using only organic or bio pesticides. Application of chemical pesticides being the predominant mode of pest control in India, use of drones for pesticide application, whether for organic or chemical would end up dangerous situation, which the agricultural department or farmers or general population would not have any control. Exposure to people and other animals as well as environmental contamination are major concerns regarding aerial spraying pesticides.
As spraying pesticides with drones are not approved by CIBRC, State Agricultural Departments need to take necessary steps to prevent use of drones for spraying of pesticides, both for organic or chemicals.
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