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Banning of herbicides and the impact on agriculture: the case of glyphosate in Sri Lanka

  • Buddhi Marambe (a1) and Swarna Herath (a2)

Abstract

Glyphosate, a widely used preplant herbicide in annual and perennial crops, was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1977. Its use has expanded since 2008 with the phase-out and ban in 2014 of paraquat. In December 2014, glyphosate use in Sri Lanka was regionally restricted. Crop protection and production in the country was severely affected in 2016 and 2017 due to the irrational decisions of the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). Increased crop production costs due to the absence of effective and economically viable weed control techniques, low crop yields, loss of foreign exchange, and enhanced use of smuggled glyphosate products are the consequences of the glyphosate ban. The ban was imposed without a scientific basis because of sociopolitical pressure. A series of dialogues with the GoSL helped rescind the ban in 2018 for a period of 36 mo, but its use is limited to tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntz.] and rubber [Hevia brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss.) Müll. Arg.]. In August 2019, the Cabinet of Ministers of the GoSL also decided to allow use of glyphosate to devitalize propagules in the floriculture industry (export oriented) and destroy coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) trees infected by Weligama coconut leaf wilt disease and sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) infected by white leaf disease. However, glyphosate products with the co-formulant polyethoxylated tallow amine are still not permitted in Sri Lanka.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Buddhi Marambe, Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. (Email: bmarambe@pdn.ac.lk)

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Associate Editor: William Vencill, University of Georgia

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References

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Keywords

Banning of herbicides and the impact on agriculture: the case of glyphosate in Sri Lanka

  • Buddhi Marambe (a1) and Swarna Herath (a2)

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