The government has included biostimulants in the rules that regulate fertiliser and other crop nutrients used to boost soil productivity. This will aid in the regulation of the ₹ 1,500 crore biostimulant industry, which promises farmers higher yields, efficiency, and other benefits from the use of various compounds and microbes.
Unlike fertilisers and pesticides, these products were previously unregulated and marketed without efficacy approval, according to officials. According to them, the government would create a regulatory body for such goods.
‘Biostimulants will now have to be licenced with the government and demonstrate effectiveness before they can be sold. Proper packaging, including the name of the producer, ingredients, and expiry date, will be required,’ said a senior agriculture ministry official who does not want to be named.
He said that the need for a regulatory body has emerged as a result of several companies beginning to manufacture biostimulants without any authentic formulation.
‘Farmers are being duped since there is no authority to validate the effectiveness of growth stimulants. The regulatory body will ensure that farmers receive genuine products that aid in increasing yield per hectare,’ he stated.
The biostimulant industry is highly fragmented, with a multitude of small players competing for limited space. Increasing demand for organic food products will drive up demand for organic farming, which will drive up demand for biostimulants.
‘Once the industry is controlled, all non-descript players will disappear, leaving only those with genuine formulations in the market. No biostimulant shall contain pesticides in excess of an acceptable limit of 0.01ppm,’ the official stated.
According to the official, the government may form a central committee to decide on the inclusion of new biostimulants and to establish specifications for various biostimulants.
‘This committee will monitor the consistency and requirements of all biostimulants, as well as ensure the use of healthy molecules and organic compounds in manufacturing,’ said the official.