ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka-based Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Company (CCFC) Ltd. will purchase organic fertilizer from disputed China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech, CCFC chairman said on Tuesday (11), days after the dispute over a contaminated fertilizer consignment ended with Colombo paying 6.9 million US dollars demanded by the Chinese firm.
Qingdao Seawin Biotech sued Sri Lanka’s National Plant Quarantine Service in November for 8 million US dollars and Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd demanding 8 million US dollars stating the samples were cleared before the shipment and alleged that the Sri Lankan authorities have not followed proper sample tests.
However, Sri Lankan authorities including Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had to eat their own words and pay 6.9 million rupees last week for Qingdao Seawin Biotech just before the arrival of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Commercial Fertilizer Company Ltd. is one of the two companies that ordered organic fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech.
“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. The discussions about that will take place soon, and the Ministry will make an official statement about that.”
Wijegunawardhana assured that they will not get the rejected fertilizer but a fresh shipment.
“Just because one lot was rejected does not mean it will all be so and we are giving priority for lab testing.”
Sri Lanka is using independent labs to test the standard of the fertilizer as well as SGS labs in Switzerland for the first time.
He hopes to get the first shipment before the next cultivation season begins between March and April.
In October 2021, Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited got a court order to block payment to Qingdao Seawin Biotech after a shipment was found to be contaminated on a post-shipment examination.
This resulted in China blacklisting a state-bank.
However this was resolved when Sri Lanka paid the Chinese company 6.9 million dollars on Friday (January 08) for the rejected shipment amid a forex crisis.
This week China removed the Sri Lankan state bank from its blacklist.
Wijegunawardhana said the reason behind the decision to go with the same Chinese company was because Chinese fertilizer has high quality Nitrogen and NPK in the optimum amounts,
“That’s why the Department (of Agriculture) and the relevant organizations have come to that decision.”
Colombo Commercial Fertilizer is a government fertilizer distributor who has so far imported Nano Nitrogen and organic fertilizer from China.