This comprehensive document ‘Plant Protection Code’ deals with the safe usage of crop protection products and that of methodologies to be followed to reduce pesticide residues in tea.
The code encourages tea growers to critically review their use of PPFs, reduce the use of PPFs where possible and over time, apply the PPFs in the safest way possible.
The code will guide the industry towards the minimisation of pesticide use and make cultivation, production, and consumption of tea safer for humans and the environment. It sets out to do this through responsible chemical management, good agricultural practices, and reducing dependence on chemicals through Integrated Pest Management strategies.
The list of approved chemicals excludes WHO Class Ia and Ib classified chemicals and is fully aligned with the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions
The code encourages tea growers to critically review their plant protection formulations (PPF), which are a list of chemicals that are used in tea. The code is based on the Codex Alimentarius, which is a set of international food standards and guidelines.
The PPF, evolved by Tea Board, has detailed the chemicals that can be used in tea plantations making some exceptions for South India. It said that chemical use should be restricted not only in tea estates, but also near water bodies, wildlife habitats and human dwelling to check contamination.
PPF covers insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and bio pesticides. Tea Board noted that in spite of using PPFs, the tea industry loses nearly 30 per cent of its crop due to pests, weeds and diseases. The tea research institutes, which were engaged in the PPF exercise, have ensured that their recommendations comply with food safety standards as stipulated by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India.