News

Rathana Thera quits 100% organic project

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Our Power of People Party (OPPP) Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, who was at the forefront of the Government’s 100% organic fertiliser programme, has given up participating in the said programme, citing criticism from the public.

When contacted by The Morning to inquire as to what action he would take in order to take the Government’s organic fertiliser programme forward, Ven. Rathana Thera said that he did not wish to make any comments on the matter hereafter, as he did not want to be blamed by the public. “I am not going to make any proposals to the Government in this regard. The best thing is to be silent on such matters. Otherwise, I will have to get blamed by the public,” he said.

Last May, the Government banned the importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals including pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides/weedicides. Ven. Rathana Thera was among the foremost proponents of the Government’s programme towards green agriculture.

However, Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage recently stated that the said ban would be revoked with effect from 24 November 2021 whilst, according to him, still keeping to the Government’s 100% green agriculture organic policy.

A proposal to ban the use and importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last April and the same was granted approval, following which the relevant gazette notification was issued on 6 May 2021.

However, the Government decided to revoke the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2226/48 of 6 May 2021 and to thereby allow the private sector to import the same, with effect from 24 November.