Through the GEF investment, India has taken the first step to eliminate dependency on the insecticide DDT by promoting locally appropriate, cost-effective, and sustainable alternatives, including the Long-Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) and Neem-based and bacteria-based biopesticides. HIL (India) Limited (HIL), a public sector enterprise, is the only manufacturer of DDT in the world and is committed to phase out production of DDT by 2024. It now produces 5 million LLINs per year and plans to double production capacity, supplying them across the country through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. HIL is also preparing large-scale production of Neem-based and Bti bacteria-based biopesticides for control of vector-borne diseases. Since Neem trees are available in Africa and large parts of Asia, HIL will also work with partners to transfer Neem-based local technology to other parts of the world.
The project contributes to a global effort to control toxic chemicals and reduce persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. Since India is the only country producing DDT, its phase-out of DDT production helps improve the health of millions involved in chemical pesticides. The phase-out also benefits those living in mosquito-endemic areas who are exposed to DDT in their dwellings. Using an agroforestry model, the project supports large-scale plantation of new cultivars of Neem trees. In addition to providing high quality raw material to make Neem-based pesticides, this model generates additional income for rural populations and farming communities. Engagement of key local partners made the project locally relevant, cost-effective, and sustainable. The project is also strengthening capacity of national stakeholders through training on integrated vector pest management (IVPM). Further, the project will recommend laws and provide guidance on DDT alternatives to the government of India.