Home / Agriculture/ Ban on Glyphosate and use of MCPA weedicide affects tea industry in Sri Lanka

Ban on Glyphosate and use of MCPA weedicide affects tea industry in Sri Lanka

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 30 January 2018 00:00


By Chathura Subasinghe

The ban of imports and usage of the Glyphosate weedicide has affected the Sri Lankan tea plantations and exports particularly to Japan, which is a major market for tea.

Glyphosate is a weedicide that was widely used by most tea plantations for the control of undergrowth weeds, in order to ensure that fertilising and harvesting was carried out successfully.

With the ban on imports and usage of Glyphosate, undergrowth and weeds have grown beyond any control making it dangerous to walk through the tea bushes in plantations due to the breeding of poisonous reptiles and other insects.

Japan being a major importer of quality Ceylon Tea for many decades accepted the residue levels of Glyphosate at reasonable levels. Japan being a very health conscious country has placed the acceptable residue level of Glyphosate in made tea at 0.15ppm. These have been arrived at after extensive research and testing by the Japanese health authorities.

In the absence of Glyphosate weedicide, the tea plantations are using another weedicide, namely MCPA – 2-Methyl-4-Chloro Phenoxyacetic Acid.

This weedicide is far more harmful to human health with the Japanese authorities having placed the acceptable residue levels of MCPA in made black tea at 0.01ppm.

Most of the teas produced in Sri Lanka, except for a few plantations, produce teas which have MCPA residue levels far in excess of the limits placed by Japan.

In fact, majority of our teas produced do not meet the maximum residue levels (MRL) for MCPA by European countries which is at 0.05ppm.

The short sighted decision made by the authorities in banning Glyphosate weedicide in Sri Lanka will result in the loss of another major market for Ceylon Tea in Japan.

Tea exporters who have invested large sums of funds in the promotion of Ceylon Tea in Japan, are now helpless and cannot export the tea, unless authorities take immediate and long-term solutions to this national crisis.

The tea industry in Sri Lanka employs over a million citizens directly and indirectly.

The loss of a premiere market like Japan will not only affect the tea producers and exporters but also have far reaching repercussions on support industries such as packaging and printing industry, sea freight and air freight (transportation industry) and many others.

The authorities must also understand the long term effects Sri Lanka will face in such a situation and if immediate action is not taken, the country will lose another opportunity of gaining much needed foreign exchange to the country. 


Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Reaching global quality standards through Deming Award

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The importance of quality in the contemporary competitive business environment cannot be over-emphasised. Total Quality Management (TQM)is a company-wide, all pervasive management philosophy, which organisations globally, in many business sectors hav

Ramsar accreditation of Colombo Wetlands: Rebranding Colombo as a Wetland City

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Colombo, once known to be “kolonthota,” has always been identified as a wetland complex at the heart of the Kelani river delta. Today this city is increasingly drying up, with around 20 sq km left as wetlands which continue to be threatened every

Coup Sri Lanka: some winners, mostly losers

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

As a president proves shockingly stubborn, a nation waits with baited breath as to what His Excellency the loose cannon on a rocky slope will do next. Two Prime Ministers and the fates of their respective parliamentary groups hang in the balance lik

Rising dollar and bank NPA, brothers in arms?

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The rising Non-Performing Advances (NPA/NPAs) is a matter of concern to the entire financial industry. It is a nightmare. The weekend papers have published some articles based on interviews journalists conducted with respective bank CEOs and also bas

Columnists More