Sri Lanka transport controls hit fertilizer supplies, military to step in
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tight controls, transport , permits and price controls which have already hit food supplies and have also hurt fertilizer and seed distribution, and the military has been brought in to fill gaps created by state restrictions.
“Although fertilizer stocks are currently received in Colombo, there is a problem in transporting fertilizers to other areas,” Minister Ramesh Pathirana said.
“The workers have been caught in villages and estates.”
Sri Lanka has also restricted inter-district travel as part of efforts to control the spread of Coronavirus.
The military will fill the gap created by the state controls.
Pathirana said Sri Lanka’s Fertilizer Secretariat and the Agriculture Department have prepared a plan Sri Lanka Army to transport and distribute the fertilizer.
Pathirana said that there is a problem in the supply of seeds as the demand for seeds had increased with the expansion of a home gardening programme island-wide.
Sri Lanka’s central bank has printed large volumes of money to keep interest rates down, generating excess liquidity over a 100 billion rupees over a cash drawdown generating ‘foreign exchange shortages’ and the rupee’s peg with the US dollar had been hit.
Sri Lanka has started slapping 1970s style import controls using a 1969 law and people have been asked to grow kollu (horse gram) and cereals and vegetables when ‘self-sufficiency’ and ‘domestic production’ hit a new high and the economy collapsed generating 20 percent unemployed.
Pathirana said Agriculture Minister Chamal Rajapaksa had asked seeds also be made domestically, Pathirana said. (Colombo/Apr24/2020)