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Agriculture ministry to ban import of Syngenta pesticide

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The agriculture ministry will ask the Indian arm of Swiss agrochemical giant Syngenta to stop import and marketing of its flagship insecticide Emamectin Benzoate in India soon.

The ministry’s decision, once notified, will put curtains down on a four-year old tussle the company had been waging against the ministry after the latter framed charges against Syngenta for importing two consignments of the insecticide without valid approval from the registration committee of the Agriculture Ministry in 2007.

Syngenta had near monopoly on the sale of ‘Emamectin Benzoate 5%’ until domestic competitors began to sell low-cost versions of the product in the market in recent years. Industry pegged the Syngenta brand at worth Rs 100 crore.

A senior agriculture ministry official confirmed the development. He said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had already cleared the order and the notification was expected after vetting by the law ministry soon.

Despite repeated attempts, Syngenta officials were not available for comments.

The company is known to have admitted the error by stating it had initiated the process of importing the product in the hope of receiving a registration certificate in due course. The registration committee had also found discrepancies in Syngenta’s declared and actual sources of import.

Incidentally, Syngenta had lost a legal battle over Emamectin Benzoate two years ago after it argued against the registration committee approval for a low-cost generic product manufactured by a North Indian pesticide firm.

The ministry action against Syngenta is for violating the provisions of Insecticides Act, 1968.

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First Published: Mon, October 17 2011. 01:11 IST