Navin claims leopards invade tea estates overgrown with weeds


Leopards were invading tea plantations due to the rapid growth of weeds due to a lack of herbicide, minister of plantations Navin Dissanayake claimed in Galle on Thursday addressing tea small holders. 

"It is the large tea plantation companies which are demanding the government to lift the ban on herbicide, glyphosate. The lack of an herbicide has affected these large companies who have over 1,000 acres each. They complain they do not have the necessary man power for weeding," he said.

Dissanayake said one of the biggest issues faced by the tea industry was the mixing of substandard tea and sugar with Ceylon tea.

"Three weeks ago, we raided 80 factories. About 53 of them were found mixing sugar with tea and we will decide what to do with these errant factories. Stern action is necessary as we have to prevent others from following suit."

 He added that there had been a heated debate on the glyphosate issue at a recent the cabinet meeting. Out of the 191 countries in the United Nations, only seven or eight countries have banned glyphosate. "I asked the health minister whether the leaders of other countries don’t care about the people." Dissanayake said.

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