Home NEWSCITY TALKS Chemical Pesticides Banned in Indian Tea Plantations to Safeguard Consumer Health

Chemical Pesticides Banned in Indian Tea Plantations to Safeguard Consumer Health

by Web Desk
Chemical Pesticides Banned

As per instructions of the Tea Board of India, all tea producers, including estates and small producers
have been refrained from using 20 specific chemical pesticides in their plantations. This has been done
to ensure consumer health as these chemical pesticides may adversely affect a tea drinker’s health.
The directive that has been issued by the Controller of Licensing of the Tea Board India follows recent
discussions at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The FSSAI convened to
address various issues related to the quality of tea, an immensely popular drink in all parts of the
A joint study that was conducted by the Tea Board and FSSAI between September 19 and October 7
this year discovered the presence of toxic chemicals in tea across different states. These chemicals
negatively impact vital organs in the body as kidneys, liver, stomach, and are also linked to asthma
and Alzheimer's.
There have been economic repercussions to the situation. The export of tea has suffered as nations
including Iran and Taiwan have rejected Indian tea shipments.

Planters, on the other hand, are understandably concerned due to pest attacks caused by climate
change-induced factors such as rising temperatures and extended rainless periods. Widespread pest
and disease attacks in tea plantations are the dread of every planter. The estimated annual crop loss
due to such issues is around 147 million kgs, resulting in a revenue loss of ₹2,865 crore per year.

The rampant use of strong pesticides in the Indian tea industry aims to control pests like the looper
caterpillar and helopeltis (the tea mosquito bug). These pests pose serious threat to tea production
particularly in North-East India, leading to significant crop losses.

Though gentler pesticides are available in the market, they are costlier and less effective against
pests. Consequently, many tea cultivators resort to stronger although banned pesticides to protect
their bushes and ensure uninterrupted tea production.

The Tea Board issued a stern warning, emphasizing the gravity of using banned insecticides in tea.
Larger tea producer associations have argued that the Tea Board should have explored suitable
alternatives through research before imposing restrictions. They have stressed the importance of pest
control in the face of climate change, citing potential impacts on tea output.

There has been a marginal decrease in tea production compared to 2022, with 1,163.06 million kgs
produced this year against 1,166.34 million kgs last year. Tea exports have also declined from 166.11
million kgs in the previous year to 157.92 million kgs this year.

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