Opposition to Sri Lanka’s glyphosate ban grows as tea farmers turn to alternate pesticides
With the ban of the weed killer glyphosate without scientific evidence, some planters have started using alternative chemicals, running the risk of Ceylon Tea exports becoming banned in overseas markets, according to Ceylon Tea Board Chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda.
“Many plantation owners have started using alternatives which are not authorized. These are now coming up in various countries. Sooner or later, this is going to lead to importing countries putting restrictions on Sri Lankan tea exports,” he said.
Glyphosate was banned in 2015 through a Presidential Order, following the lobbying of Presidential Advisor, and MP Athuraliye Rathana Thero, who blamed the chemical for causing the chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in the North Central and Uva Provinces.
“Who should have taken that decision? We have a Registrar of Pesticides; we have a Fertilizer Secretariat; we have a Medical Research Institute and we have a Tea Research Institute, (but) nobody was consulted…” Pethiyagoda said.
He noted how Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake has submitted three proposals to reverse the ban to no avail, and that no one is able to say exactly why the chemical was banned.
Numerous scientists, agriculturalists and agricultural economists have pointed out that there is no scientific reasoning behind the ban.
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