Weedicides: Decision this week | Sunday Observer

Weedicides: Decision this week

Navin Dissanayake
Navin Dissanayake

The weedicide issue will be sorted out next week, Minister of Plantation Industries, Navin Dissanayake told guests at the Global Ceylon Tea Party held in Colombo last week to mark 150 years of Ceylon Tea.

The Global Ceylon Tea Party was held across all Sri Lankan embassies and High Commissions at 5 p.m. on July 6.

It was organised by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) in collaboration with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

The ban on the use of glyphosate has been affecting the plantation industry for a considerable time, resulting in high production cost with low yield.

At the CTTA’s 123rd AGM last week, its Chairman Anselm Perera said that the banning of the weed killer has increased the production cost at a staggering rate while reducing the yield drastically.

He said the banning of the weedicide without prior warning and a viable alternative has dealt a heavy blow to the tea industry which makes a vital contribution to the economy.

The minister said that despite red tape and government backlogs, the global campaign to promote Ceylon Tea will kick off shortly to position Ceylon Tea high in the global market.

“Social media will be used to market and promote Ceylon Tea,” he said. The minister noted that the tea smallholders who account for around 73 percent of the production, were affected by the recent adverse weather and added that relief will be granted to them.

He said its frustrating due to government red tape which hinders taking the industry forward. The ministry has spend Rs. 25 million on the tea promotion campaign.

A tea convention will be held today in Colombo with the participation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Commercial tea cultivation commenced in 1867, replacing coffee which until then was the main cash crop in the country. Shortly after the crop was destroyed by a plant blight, James Taylor, a Scot commenced manufacturing of tea at the Loolcondera Estate in Hewaheta.