An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday December 5th, 2023

Sri Lanka to import organic fertilizer for 1.1mn hectares of farmland

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to import organic fertilizer for 500,000 hectres of paddy land and 600,000 hectares of other crops for the next main cropping season, following a ban on chemical fertilizer the government said.

Authorities have said chemical fertilizer was banned to reduce negative health effects and save 400 million dollar a year spent on imports.

The cabinet of ministers had given the nod for state fertilizer companies to call international bids to import enough organic fertilizer for 500,000 hectares of paddy for the 2021/22 Maha cultivation season. Usually about 800,000 hectares of paddy are sown in the season.

The fertilizer would be distributed through the Department of Agrarian Services.

For 600,000 hectares of other crops licensed suppliers will be allowed to import organic fertilizer as recommended by the research institute dealing with the crop.

For ornamental plans, cut flowers and soil-less agriculture, identified specialist fertilizer would allowed through a licensing system.

The sudden ban on chemical fertilizer came through Sri Lanka’s mid-night gazette just as some enterprising individuals were moving into soil-less agriculture and hydroponics.

The ban came after the mis-use of fertilizer which was given free after 2005 to fulfill Sri Lanka’s ‘policy-by-manifesto’ system of regime uncertainty.

Critics say the subsidized fertilizer discouraged modern advances in fertilizer from reaching the country and also the use micro-nutrients which is in widespread use in East Asia and advanced nations.

However under the current plan micro-nutrients would be allowed.

A special procurement committee would be set up for organic fertilizer and chelated plant micro-nutrients along with a special advisory committee.

The statement said out of 27 licensed domestic organic fertilizer producers, 10 could supply enough fertilizer for 224,000 hectares and farmers themselves would supply organic fertilizer for anoher 100,000 hectares.

Concerns have been raised that Sri Lanka’s agricultural output would fall sharply with the use of organic fertilizer whose quality varies more widely than chemical fertilizer and it is tricky to use them to good effect in all crops.

Experts have called for quality controls of chemical fertilizer and modern methods of chemical fertilizer application which minimizes use, run off and boosts output.

True organic fertilizer are much more expensive and need to applied in large quantities.

“To be certified organic, most inputs should come from certified organic sources, which further limits sources and makes them even more expensive,” Ranil Waliwitiya, a Sri Lankan-born Canadian who run a fertilizer tech company has said.

“As an example, conventional urea with 46 percent nitrogen can be bought at USD0.88 per 1 kg while an organic plant-based product with 12 percent nitrogen (this is the highest percentage of plant-based organic nitrogen available) is about USD12.00 per 1 kg.

“Therefore to get the same percentage of nitrogen in urea, you have to spend nearly USD50.00 if going with organics. In this case, it is 50 times more expensive to choose organic nitrogen. ”
Organic fertilizer could also has dangerous residues.

“Unlike conventional fertilizers, organic fertilizers can contain many unknown compounds which may accumulate in soil and plants and cause detrimental plant growth and human health issues,” he explained.

“As they comprise of many different sources and available mainly as solids, it may not be possible to correct nutrient deficiencies quickly in an organic setting. These compounds have poor solubility.”

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 *

Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 327.40/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 327.40/90 to the US dollar on Tuesday, from 328.10/30 the previous day, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.60/70 percent from 13.70/14.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.00 percent from 13.90/14.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/15 percent from 14.00/14.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.10/20 percent from 14.20/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.20/35 percent, from 14.25/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.10/35 percent, from 14.05/40 percent. (Colombo/Dec5/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka stocks close down as investor sentiment dips

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Tuesday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was down 0.40 percent, or 43.50 points, at 10,700.09.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.43 percent, or 13.32 points, at 3,054.41.

Turnover was at 711 million. The capital goods sector contributed 172 million, the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 140 million, and banks 113 million of this.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were John Keells Holdings Plc (up at 193.00), Richard Pieris And Company Plc (up at 19.80), and Nation Lanka Finance Plc, (up at 0.40).

Negative contributors were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (down at 89.70), Sampath Bank Plc (down at 71.00), and Central Finance Company Plc, (down at 106.00). (Colombo/Dec5/2023).

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka plans to reduce number of school grades from 13 to 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ministry of Education proposes to reduce the number of school grades from 13 to 12, according to a government information department statement.

“Every child will be given the opportunity to finish school in 17 years through the proposed new education reforms,” education officials were quoted as saying after a discussion on budget allocations.

Under the proposed system, pre-school education will be at the age of 4 years, the primary section between grades 1-5, junior section between grades 6-8, and senior section between grades 9-12.

The General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level Exam (GCE O/L) is proposed to be conducted in grade 10, and the Advanced Level Examination in grade 12.

It has also been decided to reduce the number of mandatory subjects at the GCE O/L Exam from 9 to 7.

Three new subjects, information and communication technology (ICT), technical and professional skills, and religion and values will be made mandatory and included in those 7 subjects. (Colombo/Dec5/2023)

Continue Reading