Why is weed still illegal in India

Syngenta pesticide: Unsustainable risks for farmers in India

Media release of the Berne Declaration, PAN and IUF

The report on “Conditions of Paraquat Use in India” published today by the global trade union federation IUF, the international pesticide action network (PAN) and the Bern Declaration (EvB) shows the scandalous reality of the use of paraquat in India. The Swiss agro-group Syngenta is the market leader for this highly toxic herbicide, which has been banned for some time in Switzerland and the European Union as well as in some countries in Africa and Asia. Even so, it is still one of the most widely used weed killers in the world. This is especially true in developing countries, where its use leads to the poisoning of countless workers and peasants.

In India, paraquat is filled in plastic bags. Many users cannot read the label; they mix the liquid product with other ingredients without permission and apply it to fields with often leaky backpack syringes - mostly without protective equipment. These practices increase the health risk in an unsustainable way. The consequences are headache, vomiting, shortness of breath, muscle or abdominal pain. Paraquat is used for 25 crops in the area studied, although the state registration agency has only approved its use for nine crops. Syngenta also recommends the use of paraquat in crops for which the product is not approved, in violation of Indian pesticide law. The marketing and use of paraquat in India is also in clear contradiction to the international code of conduct for pesticide management.

In three weeks in Geneva, the delegates of the 154 contracting parties to the Rotterdam Convention will decide whether the best-selling paraquat formulation will be included in this agreement. The results of the India study underline the urgency of this step, which will help developing countries to make an independent decision about importing paraquat. It also illustrates how Syngenta has criminally disregarded its human rights due diligence. In order to prevent such grievances in the future, the corporate responsibility initiative was launched this week.

More information here or at
François Meienberg, Bern Declaration, Tel: 044 277 70 04, [email protected]