Toxin-free Agricultural Education Trade Exhibition and Academic Dialogue started today, 6th March 2015 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall in Colombo Sri Lanka organized by the National Program of Food Production of Precedential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. The event has organized under the theme of “A wholesome agro-culture, A healthy citizenry, A toxin-free nation” as the launching ceremony of shifting Sri Lanka’s agriculture in to chemical free ecological agriculture under the guidance of Sri Lanka’s president Mithreepala Sirisena.
Mithreepala Sirisena pledged that he will convert Sri Lanka’s agriculture into a more sustainable, environment friendly, healthier and ecological farming system at the last presidential election which he won in January 2015. After he got in to power as the Sri Lanka’s precedent, Sirisena banned five toxic pesticides including world’s most used weedicide Glyphosate which is a most selling product of Monsanto Company. Propanil, Carbaryl, Cholopyrifos and Carbofuran are the other four pesticides banned in Sri Lanka in February 2015 together with Glyphosate. According to the ban these pesticides are prohibited to import, store, distribute, sale and use for any reason.
President took this fearless decision according to the revelation of WHO report saying that these pesticides has direct links to the Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) which has affected more than 200,000 farmers in the main agricultural regions in the country during last decade. According to the hospital reports more than 9 farmers are dying every day due to CKDu in Sri Lanka. However the president decision was under heavy attack by the agro-chemical companies, agronomists and scientists backed by the agribusiness but farmer organizations like Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) and handful of scientists and academics supported his wise decision to ban these silent killers.
This toxic-free agricultural exhibition is another step by the president in this long process and will be open for public until 8th Mach 2016. This is an opportunity for the farming community, farmer organizations, researches, scientists, journalist and artists who are committed to create toxin-free nation and will accommodate discussions, debates, seminars, lectures and presentations by the agro-ecologists and activists.