Fertilizer Sector reforms – NBS, bio-fertilizers, Neem coating, etc.

Glyphosate-based herbicides


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Glyphosate and its hazards

Mains level : Read the attached story

  • Monsanto (the company Bayer acquired in 2018) produces the glyphosate based herbicides which allegedly has cancer risks.

Glyphosate based herbicides

  • The herbicides are based on a compound called glyphosate.
  • First developed in 1970, glyphosate is scientifically N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the IUPAC system of nomenclature.
  • It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds. It is widely used in India, too.

Usage in India

  • According to a 2016 bulletin published by the ICAR the weedkiller in India goes by various brand names, including Roundup, Glycel, and Brake.
  • Glyphosate was highly accepted by the tea planters in the past two decades. It has a very good market size in the tea sector of West Bengal and Assam.
  • Presently, the consumption of glyphosate is highest in Maharashtra as it is becoming a key herbicide in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops including mango, banana, grapes, pomegranate and citrus.
  • France, Italy, and Vietnam banned the herbicide’s use after the WHO finding.

Issues over Glyphosate

  • In 2015, the WHO study found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
  • Since then activists have been campaigning against glyphosate-based products.
  • The herbicide is needed for agriculture and is used in many countries, including the US, China, Brazil and Canada.
  • The harmful effects on human health are yet to be established as the WHO has not issued any advisory.
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