An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday May 30th, 2023

Inorganic fertilizer back in market next season; govt didn’t support ban: minister

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage

ECONOMYNEXT – Inorganic fertilizer will be available for purchase for Sri Lanka’s farmers from next season, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said, noting that the government itself did not support the president’s vision for a green agriculture and that the farmers’ complaints were fair.

Farmers willing to follow the green agriculture programme will be provided organic fertilizer and pesticides, the minister said at a meeting held at the Agriculture Department on Thursday (13).

The minister said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s organic drive was unsuccessful partly because the government did not back it.

“There are a lot of reasons for this operation to be unsuccessful. One is that not even the government gave support to the decision taken by the president,” said Aluthgamage.

“We acknowledge that it was unsuccessful in this season and we are not ignoring the complaints of these farmers because it is fair to say that they went through some trouble. The fertilizer prices increased and there were some other issues as well,” he said.

But from next season, the government will make paddy seed available at the right time and “chemical” (inorganic) fertilizer will be made available in the market for farmers, the minister said, while organic fertilizer and pesticide will be available for those taking the green route.

“I ruined my career of 32 years because of this. Even though I am the agriculture minister, my state minister is the one who supervises the fertilizer programme,” said Aluthgamage.

“The reason I stood by the decision was because it was a decision taken by our leader and as a principal I always stand by our leader. Secondly, it was not a bad decision and that is why I stood by it,” he said.

On Wednesday (12), the chairman of the Sri Lanka-based Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company, one of the two companies that ordered disputed organic fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech said, it will purchase organic fertilizer from the company for the next season.

“Earlier we had agreements for 90,000 metric tons and first we were to get 20,000 metric tons of fertilizer. We will have to come to an agreement soon about the times that the rest will be shipped, after discussion among the government departments and fertilizer organizations,” Methsiri Wijegunawardhana, President of Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company told reporters on Tuesday.

“The first shipment will be here by the end of February or early March. Discussion will take place soon, and the Ministry will make an official statement.”

Assuring that a fresh shipment of fertilizers that is tested by independent labs including the SGS labs in Switzerland, he said the company expects to get the first shipment before the next cultivation season begins between March and April.

Colombo Commercial Fertilizer is a government fertilizer distributor which is so far imported Nano Nitrogen and organic fertilizer from China. (Colombo/Jan13/2022)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

India extends under utilized $1 bln credit facility to Sri Lanka by one year 

ECONOMYNEXT – India has extended a $1 billion credit facility to Sri Lanka by another year after the loan that was given to help the crisis-hit island nation to continue import of essentials was not fully utilized in the 12 month period originally agreed, officials said.

Sri Lanka faced with a looming sovereign default signed the credit facility in March 2022 for one year through March 2024. However, the full $1 billion had not been utilized yet.

The Facility has been used for urgent procurement of fuel, medicines, food items and industrial raw materials, as per the requirements and priorities of Sri Lanka.

“The initial agreement was signed in 2022 March and out of the 1000 million US dollars allocated materials were imported for $576.75 mil,” Shehan Semasinghe, State Finance Minister said in his official twitter platform.

“The agreement is extended for the remaining $423.25 mil. We will prioritize the import of essential medicines till March 2024.”

Indian High Commission in Colombo said the State Bank of India (SBI) has extended the tenure of the $1 billion Credit Facility provided to Sri Lanka in response to a request from the Government of Sri Lanka.  (Colombo/May 30/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka President cleared to discuss cancelled LRT after soured Japan relations

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe discuss resuming a Japan funded. Light Rail Transit (LRT) project cabinet spokesman said, as the island nation is in the process of mending ties with Tokyo.

However, any such deals are likely to take place after the debt restructuring and Sri Lanka starts to repay its foreign loans to come out of default, analysts say.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa unilaterally cancelled the 1.5 billion US dollar LRT and East Container Terminal (ECT) projects in 2021. Japan agreed to fund the LRT project while it was one of the tripartite members of the ECT project along with India and Sri Lanka.

The abrupt cancellation hit the diplomatic ties between the two countries and Sri Lankan government officials have said Japan had given the project to Sri Lanka at a very lower financing cost.

President Wickremesinghe returned from Japan late last week after having met top officials of the Japanese government including its prime minister.

“In recent history, due to the stopping of several agreements and proposals suddenly, President Wickremesinghe went to Japan after creating the background to clear some of the worries we have,” Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told the weekly media briefing.

“Before he went, he got the approval from the cabinet to resume the discussion on the light railway project. He got the approval from the cabinet to get parliament approval for bilateral agreements signed or any other investments project. Any change or cancellation of a project could be done only with the approval of the parliament.”

Japan has backed Sri Lanka under Wickremesinghe’s presidency after the island nation declared sovereign debt default. (Colombo/May 30/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka to tighten grip on television with broadcast law

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has formulated a broadcast authority law to regulate electronic media which will be made public soon, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

“The draft prepared by a cabinet subcommittee under Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa has discussed with various parties will be given to all media institutions and broadcast media,” Gunawardana said.

“We do not have to hide or force anyone. A legal framework that can be acceptable to all for all sectors.”

“In a week or two Minister Wijedasa will discuss with state and private stakeholders.”

At the moment Sri Lanka has issued frequencies without conforming to an “international procedures”, he said.

In Sri Lanka television frequencies are issued under a state television act.

Successive administrations in Sri Lanka has since around 1980 mis-used state television duopoly which including for conducting elections according to critics.

Private television as well a raio emerged around the 1990s and has since over shadowed state media.

There have been calls by ruling party politicians from time to time to control private media. There is now calls to control social media.

At a Committee on Public Accounts meeting of the Department of Government Information, ruling coalition legislators called for regulation of television content. (Colombo/May30/2023)

Continue Reading