Crop Biotech Update

SABC Seeks Tax Exemption on Essential Farm Inputs to Fight Fall Armyworm

July 24, 2019

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 India.

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.

For more information about Project SAFFAL, and the impact of fall armyworm in India, visit the SABC website.

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