ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has allowed the import of fertilizer mixes and micro-nutrietns for specialist applications including for hydroponic cultivation and floriculture, the President’s office said.
In May the cabinet of ministers approved the import of chelated mineral fertilizer and micro-nutrients and small granules used for horticulture.
Sri Lanka this year banned the import of fertilizer saying they caused diseases and cost up to 400 million US dollars to import.
However other analysts have called for law to curb the expansionary domestic operations (printing money) of the central bank to end forex shortages and restore monetary stability.
Sri Lanka suddenly banned chemical fertilizers, without first releasing a white paper, green paper or doing a public consultation and is now firefighting regime uncertainty with the entire agricultural sector in turmoil.
The ban has been relaxed after introducing national sub HS codes to distinguish between classes of fertilizer. Official spokesmen have claimed that the specialist fertilizer are not ‘chemical’.
The Cabinet has granted approval to the proposal made by the Minister of Agriculture on the 31st of May 2021, to import the plant nutrients which include natural chelated minerals and micro nutrients, the statement said.
“As the above natural chelated minerals and micro matter were already being imported under the HS Code, but currently prohibited by the Gazette Notification No. 2226/48, and in order to grant cabinet approval to the aforesaid Cabinet paper submitted by the Minister of Agriculture, the Gazette Notification No. 2226/48 was amended,” the President’s office said.
“The government states that it has not granted permission to import chemical fertilizers for local agricultural purposes and has not made any changes to the decision taken by the President to use only organic fertilizers for local agriculture and will not make any changes to this decision in the future as well.”
Licenses have been issued for a period of six months under the direct supervision to the institutions registered for protected agriculture in greenhouses and for hydroponics, aeroponics and floriculture to import nitrogen minerals or chemical fertilizers and chelated minerals and nutrients, the statement said.
“The above licenses also permit packets of compound fertilizers containing the three plant nutrients, namely mineral or chemical nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or capsules containing a mixture of two of them or packets weighing 10kg or less containing such products,” the statement said.
“All these fertilizers are allowed to be imported only by the relevant agencies as per the requirements or under special licenses issued only for limited quantities to suit those requirements.
“In addition, nitrogen extracts (organic) and mineral potassium can be imported, which are not classified as chemical fertilizers.” (Colombo/Aug04/2021)