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Chemical fertiliser ban will impact livelihoods of three million people in the tea trade: CTTA

In response to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers to ban the importation of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) submitted an urgent appeal to President Gotabaya Rajapksa on Thursday (06), requesting him to consider the full impact of such a ban on the tea industry.

The CTTA stressed that such a stoppage in the application of fertilizer and pesticides without a tried and tested alternative will cause catastrophic losses to the entire industry. In the appeal, the CTTA also mentioned that agro chemicals used on tea lands and estates have always been used responsibly without ever becoming a health hazard.

According to the CTTA, the tea industry feeds the rural economy driven by 500,000 smallholders, estate workers, 550 to 600 operating factories and many more involved up until the point of export. As a result, the CTTA highlights that this ban will impact the livelihoods of 3 million people.

This ban is also expected to result in a  40 to 50 percent drop in production and export volumes which will in turn reduce Sri Lanka’s market share in the global tea industry to 10 percent from 14.5 percent. The CTTA says that this drop in production will also greatly affect the country’s economy.

However, the CTTA has put forward recommendations to tackle this issue which include the establishment of strict quality controls on chemical fertilisers, capacity building for compost production, plans to encourage compost use gradually and investment in research to discover high efficiency fertilisers.