Prof. Marambe says removal not communicated to him

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 27 2021

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

Prominent weed scientist and expert on food security, Senior Professor Buddhi Marambe of the University of Peradeniya, who was sacked from key committees of the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday (26), said he was not officially informed about the removal from those committees, and he would continue to advocate that sound policy is a prerequisite for agriculture development in the country. 

Speaking to Ceylon Today, Professor Marambe said, “What I said was very clear. I did not accept the way they are trying to implement the organic fertiliser policy, that would not bring results, but put the country in danger.” “I am flabbergasted how the Agriculture Ministry accuses me of being a Director of CIC Holdings for several years.

 I was a Non-Executive Director of CIC Holdings from 2009 to 2018 and it was approved by the Vice Chancellor of Peradeniya.” He said CIC Holdings wanted his assistance in agriculture technical inputs and that he was allowed to go with the permission of the University, where the Board met just six times every year. “I signed a document that my work with CIC would be purely technical input on agribusiness and that it will not impact my work as a professor teaching or education.” He said these accusations are rather uncalled for. 

He also said, as today, how the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to mobilise organic fertiliser in an ad hoc manner, when the previous government was in power; they wanted to ban glyphosate imports.“I was against it because we cannot do it in an ad hoc manner. It was banned in 2016 without adopting a process. Such decisions are time-tested,” he said, adding that it has to be done gradually. After the Government was criticised over the sudden banning of glyphosate, the ban was lifted.

 “These are what the current Agriculture Ministry is accusing me of.” He also added that one of the committees he was removed from was the 13-member National Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee initiated in 2020 December, which has been completed and a report has been submitted. I was not officially informed about the removal, although I read it in the local newspapers, he added. The 13-member committee to develop a National Agriculture Policy was initiated in December 2020 and the work was carried out. 

It was hard work and in that committee, the current secretary who was not the secretary at that time and the current DG of the Department of Agriculture was the additional secretary at that time were also members. We worked on food crops and feed crops. We had deliberation consultations on public opinions and worked on materialising and finalising the report. With that, our job was over, he said. He underlined that he was not happy with certain policy implementations. “What I did was very clear.I did not accept the way they try to implement the organic fertiliser policy that would not bring results, but put the country in danger,” he added. “That was my clear message.

 I told this to many local Media and I don’t know if that was the reason they wanted to remove me from the committees. We cannot do that immediately and that was my concern. I have a strong feeling about my voice against China’s Qingdao Seawin fertiliser fiasco and the organic fertiliser and the protest going on in the country could have been additional reasons that I suspect I am accused of,”he said.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 27 2021

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