The Tea Exporters Association (TEA) welcomes the government decision to lift the ban on use of glyphosate weedicide on tea and rubber plantations. The Association thanks the President and the Prime Minister for the decision taken in the best interest of plantation sector and also the national economy.
TEA itself addressed a letter to the President in February this year requesting his intervention to remove the ban as it has caused some adverse impact on the tea exports sector with crop losses reporting in high and medium elevations in the last two years and also the cropping up of MRL issue in Japan and some EU countries from the beginning of this year.
All leading tea producing countries namely India, Kenya, China, Vietnam etc use glyphosate as it is the most cost effective weedicide for the tea industry. The use of glyphosate is accepted in every tea importing country including EU, USA, Japan etc. Recently the EU Commission approved the use of glyphosate in EU countries for further five year period from 2017. This is clear evidence that, the use of glyphosate is accepted in many countries as a safe weedicide.
The tea crop losses in the high and medium elevations have been estimated at around 20-25 percent of the annual tea production with the ban on glyphosate and subsequent low application of fertilizer.
The estimated export revenue losses at the prevailing prices is in the region of Rs. 18-20 billion a year. Further, non-availability of adequate quantities of Ceylon Tea for exports allows other tea producing countries to make inroads in to Ceylon Tea market share in some importing countries.
TEA also thanks Minister of Plantation Industries and Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda, former Chairman of Tea Board for their untiring efforts in getting the glyphosate ban lifted for the plantation sector. We are hopeful that tea industry would be able to overcome the crop issues and MRL matter with tea importing countries in the next 3-4 months allowing uninterrupted tea exports from the country.