Minutes of the Bio-stimulant meeting held at New Delhi on 05.03.2020

The meeting was chaired by Mr. T. Mohapatra, Director General, ICAR in the presence of many top officials from the ICAR, MoA and the Fertilizer ministry (Total -11).

Attendees from Industry Associations/ Company: Total 27 person

Attendees from AIM:

Mr. Sameer Pathare, Secretary
Dr. Kalyan Goswami, Advisor

The highlights of the meeting are as follows-

1. Toxicology studies and Plant Efficacy Trials will be made mandatory. Although the Toxicity trials may be restricted to only two basic tests rather than 9 tests as prescribed in the draft.

Plant Efficacy Trials will also be required to be carried out but they can be conducted on crop groups and may not be crop specific. Although there was no complete consensus on above point and will be contested in next meeting.

AIM association informed the meeting that Efficacy Trials and Toxicology reports are only available with AIM and that the pool data concept should be accepted. The matter will be discussed later and AIM was asked to submit the trial reports to ICAR.

AIM contested that there is no need of both the trials based on availability of reports of all general bio- stimulants with the association. But they may ask for the same as they were not convinced due to mixing of pesticides and Fertilizers in the formulation by some companies .

2. AIM strongly convinced to the meeting that the MRL limit of 0.01 PPM on samples of bio- stimulants is very harsh and impractical since this limit is usually set for food stuff. The point was well noted and this limit will be increased further. AIM asked for min 100 PPM but was not approved.

3. AIM also took up the matter of " nutrient" contents in bio- stimulant formulations and made the meeting understand that some natural substances ( sea weed extract / granules etc ) used in formulations contain the nutrients inherently and so there is a need of fixing ' specific acceptance nutrient level ' limit on presence of nutrients in bio- stimulants instead of prohibiting its presence completely. The point was agreed in principle and such matrix will be prepared.

4. AIM suggested to add words " mixtures " and also " minerals " in beneficial element list in the definition of bio - stimulants . 1st suggestion was agreed and second was debated extensively and will be taken in next meeting .

It was also agreed to remove word " regulates" from the definition of Bio-stimulants and may be replaced by the word " promotes"

5. There was no clarity obtained in the meeting on the word " microorganisms " in the definition of bio-stimulants and the use of word " cell free microbial products " in the category of products. This contradiction was brought in the notice of the meeting and was agreed to look in to the matter to correct the same.

6. AIM also raised the issue of specifically mentioning the percentage of " active ingredient" on the lable as raw materials used are from natural sources. AIM also inform the meeting that some times even the range of content is not possible to obtain. The point was well noted by the concern authorities.

7. AIM asked for a lead time of min 18 months to liquidate stock and also to prepare for new guidelines from the date the guidelines will be enforced. The point was agreed.

8. The concern on the maximum limit of heavy metals prescribed in the draft was also debated particularly of Zn, Cu and Arsenic.

9. The suggestion of giving a " provisional registrations" for 3years was also made.

10. There was a common demand of not including Bio- stimulants in the Essential Commodity Act but it was not approved by the authorities.

11. AIM also requested their inclusion in the CFC constituted for Bio- stimulants. It was also brought to the notice of the chair that the previous committee did not include any association who are directly working in bio stimulant field .

12. AIM drew attention of the meeting to the recent inclusion of Red Sea weed extract based bio stimulant " Potash derived from Rhodophytes" in the FCO 1985 and further suggested that the ICAR should carry out all the research and conduct all the trials required to validate the category products and offer to the industry by including them in FCO directly.

But on the contrary they will be giving permission to every individual product which confirms to all requirements as per draft. This is worrisome for small industries.


MNC is lobbying hard to dictate their terms. It seems that the draft guideline has been orchestrated by MNC lobby.

It is clear that the small industries will face lot of issues due to implementation of Bio Stimulant draft with its stringent requirements as MNCs are trying to influence the authorities and get their agenda approved. We need to remain united and fight for our existence.

One interesting update:

Total meeting time was around 90 minutes, whereas Sameer Pathare ji has managed to speak for 34 minutes time. There was lots of discussions and arguments (pro and against) based on our representation on the guidelines. It was heartening to see that the good work done from 2011 can pay off and AIM can play a prominent part in this issue. This has been possible due to support of all the members .