Apr 13, Colombo: A group of scientists and scholars in a letter has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to immediately lift the ban on weedicide glyphosate and if not at least remove the ban temporarily until an alternative to glyphosate is found.
In the letter sent to the President, the group points out that a number of countries in the world use a glyphosate as an herbicide and it is a low-cost and highly productive agrochemical to control the weeds.
Sri Lankan President in 2015 banned the imports of glyphosate as some studies have linked the use of the agrochemical to the Chronic Kidney Disease affecting the Sri Lankan farmers although there were no solid scientific data to back the claim.
In the face of devastating crop losses in excess of an estimated Rs. 15 billion in 2016 due to the overgrowing weeds, especially in tea plantations, the Planters Association of Ceylon (PA) pleaded with the Government to immediately provide a rational, and effective solution to the management of chemical weeding in the estate sector in a commercially viable manner.
Specialist Doctor Thilak Abeysekara, a former Director-General of Agriculture Dr. Sarath Amarasiri, Prof. Rohana Manujith, Professor Chandra Dharmawardena, Dr. Jinasiri Fernando, Dr. Lionel Gunaratne and 17 others have signed the letter to the President.