By Kelum Bandara
Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane has proposed that ‘Kansa’ should be cultivated in the country to be used as an item for value addition in the export industry.
He told Daily Mirror the British colonial rulers had banned the cultivation of Kansa which was a plant with valuable medicinal properties that could be used in the manufacture of cancer drugs and cosmetics. “We should lift the ban on Kansa cultivation. It should be cultivated under protective measures to be used solely for value addition in the export industry. We have to go for export diversification and think of market diversification without depending solely on western countries to purchase our goods,” the minister said at a forum of exporters last Saturday.
“The British colonial rulers banned Kansa cultivation in the country but is grown in other countries. If Kansa is allowed to be grown, there are foreign pharmaceutical manufactures prepared to invest here. It is only for the export industry . We cannot allow it to be used for recreational activities ,” he said adding that university academic Dr. Wasantha Sena Welianga had published a research paper on Kansa.
In 2018, the then Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne also mentioned the need to lift restrictions on the cultivation of cannabis for use in the preparation of traditional medicine while former minister Tissa Karaliyadda also talked about the need to do so for the benefit of Ayurvedic medicine.