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Sri Lanka lifts import ban on Glyphosate

Sri Lanka has lifted the ban on importing the widely-used herbicide Glyphosate with effect from August 05, 2022.

This was announced in a Gazette Extraordinary published by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies.

As per the communiqué, N-(phosphonomethyl) Glycine and its salts and derivatives (Glyphosate) are removed from the list of banned goods specified in the Special Import Licence Regulations, published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2044/40 dated November 09, 2017.

Accordingly, Glyphosate importation is now permitted under the licence issued by the Controller-General of Imports and Exports, subject to the recommendation of the Registrar of Pesticides.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena, in 2015, banned the importation of Glyphosate as some studies had linked the use of the agrochemical to the chronic kidney disease affecting Sri Lankan farmers. The imports and use of the herbicide was accordingly prohibited under the Import and Export (Control) Act, No. 01 of 1969.

However, in 2018, the import ban was temporarily lifted for tea and rubber sectors for a period of 36 months, and the move was subsequently green-lighted by the then-Cabinet of Ministers.

In November 2021, an Extraordinary Gazette was published by then-Registrar of Pesticides Dr. J. A. Sumith, revoking the gazette notification issued in 2014 prohibiting the use and sale of five agrochemicals including Glyphosate. Mr. Sumith was later removed from the post pending a disciplinary inquiry into the rescinding of the said gazette notification and it was announced that the ban on five agrochemicals was still in effect.

The following month, the then-government decided to allow the imports of organic and inorganic compounds, and phosphorous derivatives of fertilizers, however, the ban on importing Glyphosate remained effective.