Jan 19, Colombo: Ally of Sri Lanka's governing party, the National Freedom Front (NFF) has raised objections to the amendments proposed to the Seed and Planting Material Act.
The NFF says the proposed amendments will be detrimental to the local farmers.
The party notes that the provisions to make it mandatory for all seed and planting material handlers to register with and obtain a certificate from the Seed and Planting Material Registrar attached to the Agriculture Department after paying a still unspecified fee, every two years, would impede the system traditionally adapted by local farmers of exchanging seed among themselves.
The NFF has explained that in such a context, a farmer will be liable to a fine of up to Rs. 50,000 if he sells seeds to another farmer without being registered.
The party has added that the proposed bill will vest a lot of powers with the Director-General of Agriculture, the Registrar, Assistant Registrars and other authorized officers when carrying out the duties assigned to them.
Meanwhile, the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has also opposed the proposed amendments and said the party will not allow the draft bill to be passed in parliament in its present form.