Nuclear Technology to boost agriculture

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The use of nuclear technology for agricultural purposes would reap many benefits, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane told The Island Thursday (April 26).

Abeywardane said that nuclear technology could be used to improve the growth of plants and to produce quality plant varities, for eradicating harmful insects, to control them as well as to minimize diseases from food, biological nitrogen fixation and breeding varieties of high performance.

He said that a new variety of tomato, cultivated, by the Ministry of Agriculture, using nuclear technology, has been introduced.

It is part of the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) involvement in developing a more peaceful use of nuclear technology in Sri Lanka. To facilitate the implementation of these activities in Sri Lanka, the AEA is to establish a centre in coordination with agricultural department and the international Atomic Energy Agency.

A project by AEA and the ministry has been launched to inform the people on the use of nuclear techniques to improve agricultural activities, as it is being done in the many countries in the world.

According to the AEA, Nuclear Techniques are used in many countries for Agricultural development such as optimizing fertilizer and water use efficiency. Post–harvest losses can also be reduced by suppressing sprouting with the assistance of radiation treatment. Food borne diseases can also be reduced and ways and means of pollution from pesticides can be studied. Additional benefits had included savings on chemical and labour with increased income for farmers.

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