Daily News – Ishara Mudugamuwa
The Cabinet has approved Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposal as Finance Minister to submit Import and Export (Control) Regulations to implement the proposed ban on the import of chemical fertilizer, pesticides and weedicides declared under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act No. 1 of 1969, to Parliament.
Co-Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Cabinet of Ministers on April 27 this year, decided to ban importing chemical fertilizer, pesticides and weedicides with the intention of promoting organic fertilizer.
Speaking at this week’s Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department yesterday the Minister said Sri Lanka spends about 500 million US dollars annually to import chemical fertilizers. Exessive usage of chemical fertilizer, weedicides and pesticides has badly affected people and the environment. Considering these facts the government has taken this decision as the first step of limiting the use of chemicals in agriculture.
He said that the government has decided to import organic fertilizer required for the upcoming Maha season. Considering the fact that there is a possibility to send harmful weeds with organic fertilizer by competitive agricultural countries, the government has taken measures to implement a testing mechanism via three research institutes to test samples of organic fertilizer imported to the country.
“This is not a popular decision at this moment. But if the government fails to do this, no one else can do this. There will be criticism, various arguments and ideologies. Sometimes people will blame the government considering the short-term outcome of this decision. But this is a powerful and complicated decision taken by the President and the government for the betterment of the country,” said the Minister.