Government imposed the glyphosate ban in 2015 over fears that the chemical was one of the causes of the kidney disease epidemic
This is a sad development that testifies to the power of the pesticide lobby, as well as to the widespread ignorance about the alternatives to chemical weed control. PAN Europe has just published a guide called "Alternative methods in weed management to the use of glyphosate and other herbicides".
Glyphosate ban lifted
By Sandun Jayawardana
The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka), 15 July 2018
The Government has lifted the ban on glyphosate for all crops throughout the country. The ban was lifted through a gazette issued by the Registrar of Pesticides this week. In a gazette notification dated July 11, 2018, Registrar J.A. Sumith said that on the advice of the Pesticides Technical and Advisory Committee, he was rescinding the order made under Section 11 of the Control of Pesticides Act No.33 of 1980 and published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 1937/ 35 of October 23, 2015. The 2015 gazette cancelled every licence issued in respect of pesticides containing the chemical glyphosate.
While the ban is being lifted across the board, Dr Sumith said a fresh gazette would have to be issued in the coming days since the Cabinet had only approved the use of glyphosate for tea and rubber. “We have to first lift the ban on glyphosate. But, another gazette outlining the new parameters in which it can and cannot be used will have to be issued after further discussions,” he explained.
The Government imposed the glyphosate ban in 2015 over fears that this chemical was one of the causes of the kidney disease epidemic in the North-Central Province and elsewhere. In the absence of an effective alternative weedicide, however, the tea industry in particular was severely hit, with plantations becoming plagued by weeds, and resulting in a drastic drop in production.
In March, Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake told the Sunday Times that the industry had faced a crop loss of about Rs. 20-30 million kg and about Rs.16 billion loss in terms of value due to the glyphosate ban.
Nevertheless, moves to lift the ban, even in limited form, has drawn flak from certain quarters, including those in the Government, with Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and independent MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera being particularly vocal in their opposition to such moves.