Farmers continue to use suspect agrochemicals, despite public health fears relating to these materials.
These fears include the suspicion that agrochemicals may be partly responsible for the high rate of kidney disease in the North Central Province. Farmers have easy access to agro chemicals and tend to ignore safe practices when using fertiliser, pesticides and weedicides.
During a visit to the Anuradhapura district, the Sunday Times found that farmers were advised on pesticide and weedicide use by the retailers selling the chemicals, and not by government’s agriculture officers.
It was also observed that farmers ignored warning labels on bottles containing toxic materials, and did not follow safe practices, such as wearing protective face masks and gloves when spraying pesticides and weedicides. Pesticides Registrar Anura Wijesekera said laws covering these potentially dangerous products had to be reinforced.