CropLife Sri Lanka addresses issues facing agriculture

10 November 2017 12:12 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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CropLife Sri Lanka, with a membership consisting of 30 companies, representing the crop protection industry in the country is part of a global initiative to ensure sustainability of agriculture.


CropLife Sri Lanka is a member of CropLife Asia, one of six regional associations of CropLife International, a network of regional and national associations in 91 countries.


Driven by its mission to help farmers grow sufficient food to feed our growing population through access to innovative technologies, CropLife Sri Lanka advocates the use of crop protection products as a means to help farmers improve agricultural productivity, contribute to food security and 
alleviate poverty.


CropLife Sri Lanka undertakes several stewardship activities to ensure the safe handling of pesticides through its correct application, disposal, personal hygiene and environmental protection. It also promotes integrated pest management and good agricultural practices to ensure the safety of food products. With contrasting reactions greeting the banning of glyphosate, a widely used agrochemical by local farmers, the importance of protecting the interests of farmers, governments, consumers and the environment has never been more compelling.


Glyphosate, a widely-used weedicide in over 118 counties worldwide for over a period of 40 years is still considered one of the safest available herbicides. For farmers, glyphosate provides simple, flexible and cost-effective weed control removing annual and perennial weeds.


Despite major global regulatory bodies having thoroughly studied glyphosate through exhaustive reviews of all available scientific data and concluded it unlikely to cause a health risk to humans or to the environment, the local ban has garnered a great deal of attention and fear-mongering linking the use of the agrochemical to Chronic Kidney Disease (CDK) afflicting Sri Lankans.

 

Glyphosate, a widely-used weedicide in over 118 counties worldwide for over a period of 40 years is still considered one of the safest available herbicides. For farmers, glyphosate provides simple, flexible and cost-effective weed control removing annual and perennial weeds.


CropLife Sri Lanka Spokesperson Senarath Kiriwaththuduwage said: “While many have tried to paint glyphosate as a danger to consumers, in reality glyphosate is one of the safest and most effective herbicides ever developed. In use for more than 40 years as a tool in helping revolutionise farming through effective control of weeds, and compared to many other commonly used pesticides and herbicides, it is a relatively safe compound which modern agriculture is dependent on to meet increasing food demand.”


Additionally, glyphosate is also used intensively in plantation crops especially for tea plantations. Apart from it being a suitable and a practical way of weed management, it also has a substantial role in mitigating soil erosion by minimizing the need for land preparation.


“We agree that pesticides need to be regulated to ensure people and the environment are protected, but decisions must be based on the real risks so our farmers are not needlessly stopped from using appropriate products to protect their crops,” Kiriwaththuduwage added. With the lack of glyphosate resulting in dire consequences to quality of the tea industry including a steady decline of agricultural productivity, the entry of non-genuine spurious pesticides is also gaining momentum. Explaining its effects, Kiriwaththuduwage said: “Counterfeit or spurious products are a growing challenge for crop protection products in the country as these bear a series of negative effects including economic losses for farmers, unknown health risks causing potential harm to the environment, discouraging investments on technology development and even loss of tax revenues. The negative impact of using spurious pesticides encompasses every section of society.” In Sri Lanka, crop protection products are strictly regulated for product safety, biosafety, toxicity and environmental impacts and undergo approximately two to three years of rigorous scientific testing prior to any market release.
“Sri Lanka’s official pesticides authority, the Registrar of Pesticides ensures the registration of agrochemicals entails rigid scientific, legal, and administrative procedures. A wide variety of potential human health and environmental effects associated with use of the product are evaluated and assessed. Only once the authorities are satisfied, a process could even take upto two to three years, are products released. Until the ban, glyphosate was been routinely tested by the Registrar of Pesticides and released for use by the agriculture sector,” he stated.


With the banning of glyphosate in force despite no well-reasoned scientific argument put forward and re-authorisation becoming politicized, the significant impact and vulnerability triggered on sustainable farming is perilous.

 

With the banning of glyphosate in force despite no well-reasoned scientific argument put forward and re-authorisation becoming politicized, the significant impact and vulnerability triggered on sustainable farming is perilous


“Traditional modes of agriculture will not yield sufficient produce to cater to growing population or increase in meat production while facing many obstacles including reduction in arable land and climate change. We need to promote sustainable means to grow food and ensure farmers are empowered to produce more food for a growing population,” 
Kiriwaththuduwage concluded.

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