President praised for taking bold step to ban glyphosate

Scientists recommend organic agriculture as alternative to agrochemical based farming

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Kidney Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana yesterday praised President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to ban glyphosate despite pressure from their powerful multinational companies and their local agents.

Dr Jayasumana said the CKD research team comprising Prof. Nalin de Silva, Prof. Mala Amarasinghe, Prof. Sisira Sribaddena, Prof. Pryani Paranagama, Prof. Sarath Gunathilaka (California State University), Dr. Chinthka Wijewardena and GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya had striven to convince successive governments of the need to ban harmful agrochemicals, particularly glyphosate containing toxic substances that caused cancer and kidney diseases.

Dr. Jayasumana stressed that the time had come to introduce a mechanism to check whether the agrochemical companies were still selling the banned chemicals under different names.

It was important to introduce legislation for agrochemical companies to declare the stock positions of glyphosate and to make them re-export it to the country of origin, he added.

It was also absolutely necessary to appoint a separate unit to see whether the farmers were still using glyphosate on the sly.

GMOA National Health Issue Sub-Committee member Dr. Chinthka Wijewardena said that the CKD Research Team was grateful to President Sirisena for his bold decision to ban glyphosate. The WHO and the local CKD research scientists had convinced President Sirisena of the harmful effects of glyphosate.

Dr. Wijewardena said it was The Island newspaper which had brought to the notice of people the health hazards connected to glyphosate use in 2011. Thereafter many ‘scientists’ hired by some agrochemical companies had been contributing articles at the behest of their paymasters to prevent the ban. The adverse effects of glyphosate were many. It could cause soil erosion by destroying the vital microorganisms therein, he said.

It was also the bounden duty of the government to find an alternative to glyphosate, Dr. Wijewardena said. The CKD research team would propose to the government that the solution was organic agriculture which would also help prevent several non-communicable diseases, he said.


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