The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), New Delhi has submitted an
appeal to India's Union Minister of Finance Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman to
exempt Goods and Services Tax (GST) on pheromone traps and lures, safety
kits (mask and glove), botanicals, biologicals, and agriculture pesticides
to effectively manage fall armyworm (FAW) - an invasive crop-guzzling pest
that has robbed smallholder maize, sorghum, and millets farmers in the last
two seasons, and a big threat to agriculture and livelihood of farmers in
Pheromone traps/lures are fundamental requirements in the emerging problem
of FAW as they help farmers in their critical decision making in monitoring
the pest, mass trapping, and mating disruption to suppress the pest.
Similarly, safety kit or personal protective equipment (PPE) including
eyewear, mask, and gloves is most essential as it reduces the risk of
exposure and safeguards farmers from chemical harm. Botanical and
biologicals including Azadirachtine, Nomuraea Rileyi, and Metarhizium
anisopliae are essential for FAW control at a very early stage of
infestation, whereas pesticides are used as a last resort by smallholder
farmers to control devastating FAW. Fall armyworm needs to be tackled with
the highest priority as it is a devastating pest with very little knowledge
in Indian conditions. Exemption of GST on critical farm inputs will allow
smallholder farmers to access tools and technologies and reduce the cost of
production and ensure effective management of fall armyworm.
Project Safeguarding Agriculture and Farmers against Fall Armyworm
(ProjectSAFFAL), supported by FMC Corporation aims at developing a suite of
techniques, good agricultural practices and control measures along with
educational material for various stakeholders to enhance farmers'
preparedness to tackle the menace of fall armyworm.