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Tuesday May 17th, 2022

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)


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