Ban on glyphosate:
President’s order put on hold

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

President Mahinda Rajapksa’s decision to ban weedicides containing glyphosate had been put on hold and the Pestcides Technical Committee (PTC) had asked President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge to give an appointment to meet the President to convince him on the far-reaching repercussions of the ban, Director General of Agriculture Dr. Rohan Wijekoon said yesterday.

He said that though President Rajapaksa had given orders to ban glyphosate in Sri Lanka, around 60 per cent of tea, paddy, rubber, maize, vegetable cultivators used glyphosate as a weedicide.

The PTC held a meeting with tea, paddy, rubber, coconut and vegetable cultivators and discussed the issue with them at length. A decision had been taken to meet the President, the Agriculture DG said.

Dr. Wijekoon said that the Pesticide Technical Committee had decided to ask the President to ban weedicides containing glyphosate in provinces where CKD is prevalent.

Senior Lecturer and CKD Researcher Dr. Channa Jayasumana said that just because the ban on glyphosate affected the agriculture sector, the government could not allow kidney patients to die. Around 13 persons were dying of kidney failure per day in Sri Lanka. The kidney disease was prevalent in 89 agrarian divisions in Sri Lanka, he said.

He said the onus was on the government to make arrangements to find a substitute for glyphosate which was the root cause of the kidney failure among a large number of people.

Pesticides Registrar Dr. Anura Wijesekara said that the PTC had decided to bring to the attention of the President the fallout of a ban on glyphosate.

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