Glyphosate ban hits Sri Lankan exports
Posted on February 25th, 2018

Farmers have turned to unauthorised alternatives after the country banned glyphosate.

Tea farmers in Sri Lanka were calling on the Government to reauthorise glyphosate as soaring costs, falling production and residues from alternative chemicals hit exports to key markets.

The country banned glyphosate in 2015 after lobbyists blamed it for causing chronic kidney disease in workers.

But industry chiefs disputed the link and said the ban has made working on tea plantations dangerous, increasing the amount of poisonous reptiles and insects on-farm.


After losing glyphosate, farmers turned to alternative herbicide MCPA.

But residue levels of the chemical were in excess of the limits placed by Japan, a major importer of Ceylon tea.

Last year, Sri Lanka tea board chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda warned importing countries were going to put restrictions on imports as a result, with detections of excessive residues of unauthorised chemicals in exports to Japan and Germany in August.

It is a very serious problem, but I cannot wake up this Government to think seriously about it. Goodness knows, we have tried,” he said in the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror.

The tea industry in Sri Lanka employs more than a million citizens.

The industry has also criticised the science behind the ban, with Roshan Rajadurai, chairman of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon, claiming there was no evidence to show the chemical had negative health ramifications for employees.

In fact on the weedicide issue, there is totally unanimous agreement between the labour trade unions, the regional plantation companies and all stakeholders. This by itself ought to be sufficient evidence to immediately re-examine this policy,” he said.

German coalition to ban glyphosate

Glyphosate and genetically modified crops will be banned in Germany as part of a coalition agreement between Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), their sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria and the Social Democrats (SPD).

It was speculated disagreements over glyphosate could derail a coalition deal. But the parties have come to an agreement after four months of negotiations which included the banning of glyphosate, although no timescale was given for the ban.

It comes after German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt, of the CSU, voted in November to extend the approval of glyphosate in the EU for five years, causing a rift in the coalition.

Other agreements include a ban on genetically modified crops and a new animal welfare label to help ensure better conditions in industrial farming.

The deal will need to be approved by delegates at the CDU party conference on February 26 and SPD members next month.

Sri Lankan farmers warned the ban was losing them ground in key export markets, such as Japan.

4 Responses to “Glyphosate ban hits Sri Lankan exports”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    It has been proven that Glyphosate attacks the gut flora in human beings, causing various illlnesses. Glyphosate active ingredients use the Shikimate Pathway in any plant life including gut flora, killing the plant/organism. Glyphosate action is NOT limited to weeds.
    With time, Glyphosate will attack and wither off TEA PLANTS. This has been proven by the TRI (Tea Research Institute), in Lanka.

    How was Tea grown BEFORE Glyphosate came into the market ?

    To safeguard tea pluckers and other workers who go barefooted in the tea plantations, provide them with covered footwear. Same ought to be provided for paddy farmers, as done in Japan.

    What is going on here re the Upcountry area in Lanka ?

    We hope this present govt and future govts will never lift the ban on Glyphosate.
    That’s the best thing they have done, so far, for Lanka.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Another misleading article by the Glyphosate lobby.

    Although the headings and subheadings say farmers use unauthorized alternatives, it fails to mention what those are. And even then it only relates to the tea industry.

    Tea industry has done enough environmental and demographic damage as it is. Why worsen it?

    Most powerful tea plantation workers’ parties supported the government!

    If they were so adversely affected, they would have supported the popular opposition. It seems that only interested parties are agitating for the lifting of the ban.

  3. Cerberus Says:

    There are many who have written against Glyphosate including Timothy Vrain who was a former employee of Monsanto.
    As far as I understand Glyphosate kills plants by preventing most plants from making certain proteins. Glyphosate stops a specific enzyme pathway (Shikimic acid pathway) which is necessary for plants and some microorganisms. Glyphosate should not be used till weeds have actually sprouted. It is, however, non-selective and will kill almost all species of plants both wanted (crops) and unwanted plants (weeds). This same Shikimata pathway exists in the gut flora of many mammals and humans and ingestion of Glyphosate will interfere with it and cause various diseases. Furthermore, many countries have banned it. Therefore as a small country, Sri Lankans need to be very careful. We started using Glyphosate in the 1990’s and already have many people with Kidney disease. This disease has emerged as a major problem a few year ago. There was large-scale use in Tea estates which then washes down into the lower levels where paddy farmers work. Various vendors in Sri Lanka had imported very large quantities and President Maithripala Sirisena banned it. I understand most of it has now gone into the black market.

    Until the issues about Glyphosate are clear Sri Lanka should avoid the use of these toxic weed killers which only enrich the companies who produce it and their spokesmen. Therefore please be cautious in promoting this weedicide in our little country till we know more about it. The companies who manufacture this product are so enormously wealthy that they tend to suppress any information inimical to the spread of its use in Agriculture.

    Readers, please read some of the following articles for your enlightenment. – Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance – Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies – Op-Ed: Roundup’s Glyphosate’s Are Killing Our Gut Microbes – A Complete List Of All Countries That Have Banned Glyphosate – How to Avoid Glyphosate Residue – How to Detoxify Your Body from Glyphosate Exposure

    These are two very important videos which show the connection between many diseases such as Autism, Diabetes, Heart disease etc to Glyphosate.

    Some more information about dangers of Glyphosate.

    Former pro-GMO scientist speaks against the use of glyphosate at a lecture in 2014.

    Thought this video presentation (39 minutes) made in 2014, might interest you.

    Another video interview that might interest you.

    Preview YouTube video Dr. Thierry Vrain, Former Pro-GMO Scientist, Speaks Up Against Glyphosate

    Dr. Thierry Vrain, Former Pro-GMO Scientist, Speaks Up Against Glyphosate

    Preview YouTube video Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Samsel on the Dangers of Glyphosate

    Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Samsel on the Dangers of Glyphosate

    Preview YouTube video Dr. Thierry Vrain, Former Pro-GMO Scientist, Speaks Up Against Glyphosate

    Dr. Thierry Vrain, Former Pro-GMO Scientist, Speaks Up Against Glyphosate

    Preview YouTube video Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Samsel on the Dangers of Glyphosate

    Some more information about dangers of Glyphosate.

    Former pro-GMO scientist speaks against the use of glyphosate at a lecture in 2014.

    Thought this video presentation (39 minutes) made in 2014, might interest you.

    There is a group now taking Agribusiness to courts. See:

    TRIBUNAL CONCLUDES: Monsanto is a scientific fraud guilty of ecocide and crimes against humanity

    See the following:

    Stephanie Seneff, PhD, MIT CSAIL presents “The ‘SAFE’ Herbicide that’s making us all Sick!” Seneff’s three decades of scientific rigor is added to a growing body of independent research that exposes the toxic reality of America’s favorite weed killer and biocide; Monsanto’s RoundUp.

    Presented by The SHAKA Movement’s Christina Fisher & Seeds of Truth’s Melissa Yee

    Special Thanks to “The Five Citizens” – Mark Sheehan, Alika Atay, Lei’ohu Ryder, Dr. Bonnie Marsh & Dr. Lorrin Pang

    Contact Information:


    Email: – Stephanie Seneff, PhD on Glyphosate (RoundUp) Poisoning – Live to 110 Podcast #166 Glyphosate and How to Detox It with Dr. Stephanie Seneff – Glyphosate Pretending to be Glycine: Devastating Consequences – Stephanie Seneff, PhD

    Anthony Samsel/ Stephanie Seneff’s peer reviewed paper on Glyphosate, fifth volume, is out. In an interview with Tony Mitra, he lays out the proof how glyphosate as an analog (mimic) of glycine, gets picked up by our body and used by our RNA, mistakenly thinking it is glycine, to go into various parts of our biology and how, once it gets there, it creates malfunctioning proteins that become the trigger for illness and disease.

    The first part of the long interview is already put up at…

    This is the second part, comprising almost 38 minutes. It also includes, at the end segment, the five-minute talk on how the scientist got various vaccines tested for concentration of glyphosate and how he found the unwanted molecule to be present in many of the vaccines.

    This five-minute video has separately been put up at…, but is also included here as part of the whole interview.

    This second part, together with the first one, covers over one hour of interview. There is a third and last part yet to come. – Anthony Samsel on Glyphosate mimicking glycine, part 2

    Dr. Thierry Vrain, former genetic engineer and soil biologist with Agriculture Canada, spoke with us today about his concerns with genetically engineered crops (GMOs) and more importantly, the use of Glyphosate (RoundUp). Dr. Vrain’s background in the field of genetic engineering (for 30 years), makes him an expert on this gene technology. He explained how a cell is genetically engineered and what happens after this random insertion process through a gene gun and how it can have unknown effects.

    Since leaving Agriculture Canada 12 years ago, he has learned much more about the process of genetic engineering and the BT process (insect resistant) and the HT (herbicide resistant) crops that make up about 500 million acres. His primary concern at this time is the widespread use of Glyphosate which is a powerful herbicide, mineral chelator and a patented antibiotic. Dr. Vrain stated when speaking about Glyphosate:

    “It’s almost as if the entire population of North American is on a low-grade antibiotic diet day in day out from birth, every day, so this is the reality.” – Dr. Thierry Vrain, Former Pro-GMO Scientist, Speaks Up Against Glyphosate

    Study after study is showing up these days that tell us that Monsanto’s Roundup is causing cancer and other extremely severe neurological defects. Monsanto adamantly denies all of these charges, but they cannot deny the reality of science. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with attorney Howard Nations. – Monsanto Trying to Cover Up Deadly Health Risks of Roundup – The Ring Of Fire

    To learn more about the Monsanto Roundup litigation, visit…

    Spread the word! LIKE and SHARE this video or leave a comment to help direct attention to the stories that matter. And SUBSCRIBE to stay connected with Ring of Fire’s video content!

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    Monsanto Trying to Cover Up Deadly Health Risks of Roundup – The Ring Of Fire –

    If you watch the whole video you can see how Glyphosate affects the root development of plants and how on soils where it has been used over long periods it produces crop failure, and also on how in animal husbandry the fertility of animals has gone down along with malformed or still born baby animals.

    As has been pointed out by Fran Diaz Glyphosate is not effective on 20 of the 23 types of weeds found on tea estates. So why do we apply Glyphosate? Is it promoted by Chemical Herbicide importers for profit? In any case now in the West more and more people are eating Organic food since they are so chronically ill with all kinds of strange diseases. That may be one reason why Monsanto sold the company to Bayer. Most of the areas where Glyphosate has been used has given rise to Superweeds which are resistant to most Herbicides.

    I totally agree with you that we should go to time-tested methods of weed removal that were used by our forefathers when Sri Lanka was the granary of the East.

    Here is a good article to read which is not too long and is very informative.

    If you wish to read more about it please see the following article.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Glyphosate kills the tea plant itself after some time. Please see the article below.

    ‘Be cautious in using glyphosate for weed control in tea’
    by Dr. Kapila Prematilake
    Daily News, June 24, 2004

    (Senior Research Officer), Low Country Station, Tea Research Institute, Ratnapura and B.P. Ekanayake (Officer-in-Charge), Mid Country Station, Tea Research Institute, Hantana, Kandy.

    Glyphosate herbicide, when sprayed to the weed foliage gets translocated to all plant tissues and effectively kills the entire plant including rhizomes of perennial weeds. Ability of killing wide range of weeds makes Glyphosate one of the most versatile herbicides.

    Thus, most of the tea estates and smallholders heavily depend on glyphosate for weed control. Glyphosate (36% a.i.) is marketed in Sri Lanka under different trade names.

    Wilting tea plants

    However, indiscriminate use of glyphosate on tea lands has adversely affected health and productivity of the tea bush in the recent years. Furthermore, increasing levels of glyphosate residues have been reported in our tea exported to other countries.

    Glphosate was first introduced to tea cultivation in 1980s for the control of problem weeds such as Couch and Illuk grasses. Higher dosages of glyphosate (36%) at 11 and 5.5 litres in 600 of water per hectare were recommended to control Couch and Illuk grasses, respectively.

    Later in 1995, the lower rates of glyphosate i.e. 1.4-2.8 1/ha (0.25.5%) were recommended to control other weeds as well. From the inception TRI has recommended series of precautionary measures to be adopted when using glyphosate for weed control in tea.

    However, symptoms of discolouration, browning of leaves, wilting, twisting or curling of leaves have been observed as phtotoxic symptoms of glyphosate. Higher dosages of glyphosate could result in leaf fall, and sometimes death of the plant.

    In mature tea, damages are generally observed on peripheral shoots, which grow laterally at a lower height almost at the ground level. Symptoms of deformed leaves, development of multiple buds and formation of rosettes may appear about 4-5 weeks after application.

    Thus, the ultimate result of regular spraying of glyphosate is debilitation of the bush and decline in yield. Recent field investigations have also confirmed the debilitation and yield decline due to regular use of glyphosate (i.e 3.4 rounds per year) over a period of 4-year cycle (Table 1).

    Furthermore, regular use of glyphosate could result in glyphosate residues in made tea. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Maximum Residual Level (MRL) of glyphosate allowed in Black tea is 0.5 parts per million (ppm), i.e. 0.5 mg in one kg of black tea.

    When glyphosate is used in excess of 0.5% (>2.7 l/ha) on tea lands glyphosate residues have been detected until 14 days after application, whereas, glyphosate residues have not been detected in tea seven days after application when the rates are below 0.5%.

    Moreover, it is also well known that the use of a single herbicide can lead to development of resistance in weeds.

    In spite of the cautionary notes issued by the TRI, some estates and tea small holders are using glyphosate at rates higher than 0.5% i.e. about 3-4 l/ha/round 4-5 times a year.

    As a result of such deviation from the TRI recommendations for the use of glyphosate, stipulated in Circulars and Guidelines, a serious situation is being emerged in the tea industry. This may be attributed to lack of knowledge and awareness on safe use of herbicides, particularly of glyphosate.

    The majority of smallholders used to get improper advices from the salesmen of pesticide outlets.

    Even in the estate sector field staff and workers have not been properly educated on safe and effective methods of herbicide use.

    Therefore, it is necessary that the field staff and workers, who are directly engaged in herbicide application be educated in all aspects of chemical weed control, which covers phytotoxicity, mode of action, residue levels, persistency, dosages and rates of application of all recommended herbicides used for weed control in tea.

    Further, they should be educated on proper use of spray equipments, correct nozzles, spray guards and correct pressure of application.

    In order to minimize adverse effects and build up of residues in made tea it is recommended that number applications of glyphosate should be limited to two rounds per year for mature tea and it should not be used on young tea (up to first pruning) and first year after pruning.

    Though, Glyphosate is a total weed killer, some weeds such as Commelina, Hedyotis, Cyperus spp, Wedelia and Morning Glory are tolerant to Glyphosate.

    Therefore, it is not advisable to use glyphosate on these weeds and they should be controlled by cocktail mixtures of herbicides or by other methods. Today, the estates are compelled to practise chemical weeding due to the acute shortage of labour. The use of glyphosate in the estate sector is alarmingly high.

    Some estates are undergoing economic crisis due to lower NSA and lower profit margin with a low capital investment. As a result those estates are compelled to use a single herbicide like glyphosate to reduce cost of weeding.

    However, the adverse effects of improper use of this weedicide on tea fields overweigh the short term benefits such as reduction of cost of weeding.

    Therefore, it is extremely necessary to adhere to the recommendations of the TRI given in the form of advisory circulars, guidelines and precautionary notes.

    In this context, a lower dose of glyphosate could be used with a wetting agent or a surfactant available in the market or with Ammonium Sulphate, Urea of Kaolin for weed control in tea.

    Weeds that are not killed by glyphosate should be selectively controlled by other means of managing weeds such as manual or cultural method or with a cocktail mixture of weedicides as recommended by the TRI.

    Otherwise these weeds could become dominant and eventually a threat in tea cultivation. Finally, for an effective and sustainable weed management in tea, resorting to a minimum number of rounds of the same herbicide particularly glyphosate within a year in combination with other herbicides and practice of other manual, cultural and biological methods in rotation should meticulously be followed.

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